[UPDATED] Surabaya church bombings: What we know so far
Kharishar Kahfi, Vela Andapita and Wahyoe Boediwardhana The Jakarta Post
Indonesian police officers patrol outside a church following an alleged suicide bomb attack in Surabaya on May 13. (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)
Indonesians woke up on Sunday morning to reports about bombing attacks at three churches in Surabaya, East Java, flooding their social media timelines.
Photos and videos of the aftermath of the bombings, some of them graphic, spread quickly online, while the East Java Police were still gathering information of what had just transpired in the province’s capital, Surabaya, the nation’s largest city after Jakarta.
Below is what we know so far about the bombings.
The number of explosions
Three bombs exploded in at least three churches in Surabaya shortly before Sunday services began.
East Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Frans Barung Mangera told The Jakarta Post the explosions took place at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church (STMB) on Jl. Ngagel Madya in Gubeng, Surabaya Pantecostal Church (GPPS) on Jl. Raya Arjuna and the Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) on Jl. Diponegoro.
The first explosion took place at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church. The second and third explosions followed five minutes apart, the police said.
Two other attempted attacks were also reported at two other churches. They are Saint Jacob’s Church at Citraland housing complex in West Surabaya and Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral on Jl. Polisi Istimewa.
The bombs failed to explode.
At 9 p.m., another bomb went off prematurely, killing at least one of the tenants of the Wonocolo low-cost apartments behind the Taman Police station in Sidoarjo. East Java Police have found a connection between the church bombings and Sidoarjo bombing, which used the same type of explosives.
On Monday morning, another bomb attack has been reported at Surabaya Police headquarters on Jl. Sikatan.
Latest death toll
As of Monday afternoon, the number of fatalities had risen to 25 people, 13 of whom were the suicide bombers, while dozens suffered from injuries, the police confirmed. The church attacks on Sunday morning killed 12 people.
Three people were killed in the Sidoarjo explosion, the father, the mother and the eldest son. The attack on Surabaya Police headquarters was carried out by a family of five, only the little girl survived.
Who is responsible for the bombings?
The Islamic State group was responsible for suicide attacks against three churches in Indonesia that killed at least 11 people on Sunday, it said via its propaganda agency Amaq.
“Three martyrdom attacks killed 11 and wounded at least 41 among church guards and Christians,” it said via the Telegram messaging app as quoted by AFP.
The group has also claimed responsibility for the riot incident at the National Police’s Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java, which led to the deaths of five members of the police’s elite counterterrorism squad, Densus 88, and a 36-hour standoff between terror inmates and security forces.
A policeman stands guard outside the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church (Surabaya Gereja Pantekosta Pusat) in Surabaya, East Java on May 13, 2018. A series of blasts, including a suicide bombing, struck churches in Indonesia on Sunday, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens in the deadliest attack for years in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)
Family of suicide bombers
Suicide bombers in the church attacks are believed to be a family affiliated with Jamaah Anshar Daulah (JAD), an extremist group affiliated with the IS network, the National Police chief said.
“We have identified the bombers. It is highly likely that they shared a familial background,” National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said at a press conference broadcast live from Surabaya.
According to Tito, the father in the family was the bomber at the Surabaya Pentecostal Church (GPPS) on Jl. Raya Arjuna, while two male teenagers of the family carried out another suicide bombing on a motorcycle at Saint Mary Immaculate (SMTB) Catholic Church of Surabaya located on Jl. Ngagel Madya in Gubeng. The mother of the family and her two young girls allegedly carried out the mission at the Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church (GKI). Tito said the family was among IS-affiliated Indonesians deported by the Turkish government last year.
“Before proceeding to the GPPS, the father allegedly dropped off his wife and two daughters, aged 9 and 12,” Tito said.
One victim was identified as a member of congregation of the Santa Maria Tak Bercela church on Jl. Ngagel Madya, while the other had yet to be identified. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)
The bomb in Sidoarjo also involved a family of six.
What happened after the explosion?
Police officers have been deployed to the crime scenes to investigate and safeguard the areas, including members of Brimob and the bomb squad. The police earlier said they would focus first on the evacuation of victims.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian departed for Surabaya to oversee the investigation on the attack, as reported by kompas.com. The police general arrived at noon and went to the crime scenes as well as the East Java Police headquarters.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had also flown to the city to assess the latest conditions of the ground zero, as well as visit the bomb attack victims in hospitals.
The bombings also prompted the Surabaya administration to cancel the Rujak Uleg Festival on Jl. Kembang Jepun, slated to be opened by Mayor Tri Rismaharini at noon, to commemorate the city’s anniversary. A committee member for the festival, Lainin, said the cancellation was necessary as the situation was considered unsafe, as quoted by tempo.co.
The attack prompted other regions to raise its alert status to siaga 1, the highest level. The regions included were Jakarta, Riau Islands and Bali. (ahw)
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Sunday at 9: 25 p.m. to include an official claim of responsibility from the Islamic State.
This story was updated on Monday at 11:15 a.m. to include the information on Sidoarjo explosion, Surabaya police HQ explosion and to update the number of casualties.
This story was updated on Monday at 2:45 p.m. to update the latest death toll.