Suicide attack at mass on Palm Sunday in Indonesia leaves at least 20 injured

A suicide attack at a Palm Sunday mass in Indonesia leaves at least 20 injured Multiple images and videos captured the horror after the e...

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  • A suicide attack at a Palm Sunday mass in Indonesia leaves at least 20 injured
  • Multiple images and videos captured the horror after the explosion
  • The events occurred in an Indonesian cathedral

At least 20 people were injured on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi after two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a packed Catholic cathedral where a Palm Sunday mass had just finished, according to police.

A video taken with a cell phone, accessed by The Associated Press, showed human remains scattered near a burning motorcycle outside the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi province.

Indonesia on alert after explosions

Indonesia Attack, Church, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis
PHOTO The Associated Press

The country was on alert following the arrest in December of Aris Sumarsono, known as Zulkarnaen and leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah group, The Associated Press reported. Wilhelmus Tulak, a Catholic priest leading the mass when the pig bomb exploded at 10:30 a.m., told reporters that a loud sound startled his congregation.

The Palm Sunday mass had just ended, on the occasion of the beginning of the Catholic Holy Week that culminates with Easter. The explosion occurred when a first group of congregation He would leave the church in Indonesia and others would arrive for the next service, he noted.

The two attackers killed after the attack in Indonesia

Indonesia Attack, Church, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis
PHOTO The Associated Press

Church security guards in Indonesia suspected two motorcyclists who wanted to enter the compound, said Catholic priest Wilhelmus Tulak. One of the men detonated his explosives near the door when the guards blocked his way.

The two people were killed instantly, police later said. Evidence gathered at the scene indicated that one of them was a woman. The injured were four guards and several church members in Indonesia, they added. Police were still trying to identify two assailants who were riding motorcycles and used powerful explosives, National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono told a news conference in the capital Jakarta.

They investigate the suspects of the attack

Indonesia Attack, Church, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis
PHOTO Getty Images

Authorities were investigating whether the suspects had ties to a local affiliate of the outlawed Jemah Islamiyah network or were acting independently. Indonesia’s counterterrorism force, known as Densus 88, has detained some 64 suspects in several provinces in recent months.

Including 19 last month in Makassar. The arrests followed an advisory about possible attacks on police and places of worship, The Associated Press reported. Indonesia, the most populous country with a Muslim majority in the world, has suffered several attacks.

Risk of religious celebrations

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Among those attacks are those on the resort island of Bali, which killed 202 people in 2002, most of them foreign tourists. In recent years, attacks against foreigners have been replaced by smaller, fewer casualty attacks against the government, police and counter-terrorism forces and people whom militants consider infidels.

President Joko Widodo condemned Sunday’s attack, saying it had nothing to do with any religion, as none would tolerate such violence. “I ask people to remain calm while celebrating their rites because the state guarantees that they can do so without fear,” Widodo said in a televised message.

Video captures the exact moment of the explosion

PHOTO Instagram

A short video published on Instagram by the account @escenariofinal, supposedly shows the exact moment of the explosion during the attack in Indonesia in the middle of Palm Sunday and where at least 20 injured were reported after the deadly event.

The two attackers who died at the scene are believed to be members of a militant network that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, The Associated Press said, although investigations are still under way after the international upheaval. TO WATCH THE VIDEO CLICK HERE. DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

They ask for prayers for the injured

PHOTO Twitter

The Indonesian president offered his prayers for the injured and said the government would cover all the costs of their medical treatment. He also claimed to have ordered the police chief to investigate the attack on the Indonesian church and to pursue any armed groups that may be involved.

At the end of the Palm Sunday mass in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis asked for prayers for the victims of violence, and mentioned in particular those affected by “the attack that occurred this morning in Indonesia, in front of the cathedral of Makassar ”.

Pope Francis breaks silence at Palm Sunday mass

Indonesia Attack, Church, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis
PHOTO The Associated Press

Pope Francis often leads a Palm Sunday procession through St. Peter’s Square before tens of thousands of worshipers holding olive branches and braided palms, before celebrating an open-air mass. However, this year the mass was celebrated inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

That was weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Italy, the first Western country to hit by the virus. Pope Francis ended his Mass by inviting people to pray for the victims of a suicide attack outside a crowded Catholic cathedral in Indonesia as a Palm Sunday Mass ended.

Retaliation for detained ‘terrorist’ leader?

PHOTO Twitter

The attack occurs a week before Easter in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. In addition, according to The Associated Press, it occurred when the country was on high alert following the arrest of the leader of the militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, who has been called a terrorist group by several nations.

Police investigating the attack in Indonesia identified one of Sunday’s ‘terrorists’ by his initial alone, L, which they believe was related to a 2019 suicide attack that killed 23 people at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. in the Philippine province of Sulu, notes The Associated Press.

They are looking for more members of the terrorist group

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According to The Associated Press, the head of the National Police, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, revealed that the two attackers were related to a group of suspected militants arrested in Makassar on January 6, when an anti-terrorist team shot and killed two alleged militants.

“We are still looking for other members of the group and I have ordered Densus 88 (an elite team of the Indonesian counterterrorism police) to continue their movement,” said Prabowo. This attack is reminiscent of the one that occurred in May 2018.

Jemaah Islamiyah A new threat?

PHOTO Twitter

The latest reported attack was a series of suicide bombings at an Indonesian church in the city of Surabaya, The Associated Press reports. This attack in Indonesia killed a dozen people, including two girls whose parents had implicated them.

Jemaah Islamiyah was considered the most important terrorist network in Southeast Asia, reveals The Associated Press, but has been weakened in recent years. However, a new threat has emerged from militants who fought with the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

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