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Bombings in Indonesia leave at least 25 dead, 46 injured
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The Trump administration has seen much success in its war against the so-called Islamic State — but it seems there’s still more work to be done.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for series of attacks that took place in Indonesia on Sunday and Monday which left at least 12 civilians and 13 terrorists dead, and more than 46 injured, including police officers. The attacks were largely carried out by families and small children.
Church bombings plague Indonesia
The first of three attacks took place on Sunday in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city. According to police reports, a family of six, including two girls aged 9 and 12, carried out coordinated suicide bombings at three separate churches in the city.
These attacks occurred within minutes of each other, as people were making their way to morning mass. The father, Dita Futrianto, who was head of the Surabaya cell of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah — an IS affiliate — reportedly drove a car filled with explosives into the city’s Pentecostal church.
A similar method was used by his sons, aged 16 and 18, who drove a motorcycle onto the grounds of Santa Maria Church, where they detonated explosives. Meanwhile, the mother, Puji Kuswati, along with her two daughters, attacked the Christian Church of Diponegoro wearing explosive vests.
“At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard,” a witness said, “but the woman ignored them and forced her way inside. Suddenly, she hugged a civilian, then [the bomb] exploded.”
It is suspected that the family who carried out the church bombings recently returned from Syria, where they joined the Islamic State. The three church bombings, now considered one of the deadliest attacks that the country has seen in over a decade, left at least seven people dead — not including the terrorists — and countless others injured.
The carnage continues
Unfortunately, these attacks weren’t the only ones to plague Indonesia over the weekend. On Sunday evening, another explosion occurred on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Sidoarjo, a suburb located south of Surabaya, when a bomb went off as police were moving in on the family’s residence.
Killed in the explosion were the husband, wife, and one child, while three other children were injured. The husband was believed to be Anton Ferdiantono, who, according to police, was a friend of the father who committed the church bombing.
A final attack occurred on Monday morning, when a family of five drove two motorbikes into the entrance of the Surabaya Police Headquarters, where they denoted a bomb. Four police officers were injured, while all members of the terrorist family, except for one 8-year-old girl, died.
Authorities have put the country on high alert, and have reportedly foiled several subsequent attacks by killing four militants and arresting two others.
A tragic reminder
Indonesian President Joko Widodo condemned the attacks, calling the tragedies “barbaric.” The country’s two largest Muslim Organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, also expressed their lack of support for the attackers — but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the one-time pluralistic country of Indonesia is becoming a dangerous place for non-Muslims.
While the attacks may seem surprising, considering that Indonesia is a more moderate Muslim country that has been tough on militants since the Bali attack of 2002, which killed over 200 people, the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, along with the terrorist group’s removal from Syria and Iraq, has invigorated local groups.
As we remember the victims, this weekend’s attacks are a tragic reminder that the war on the Islamic State is far from over. But at least we can rest assured that with President Donald Trump at the helm, the U.S. won’t stop until ISIS is defeated.
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