Suicide bomber attacks church in Indonesia

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A suspected suicide bomber attacked a church on Indonesia’s Java island killing himself and injuring 17 people, police said.

“Only the suspected suicide bomber killed in the attack,” said police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar in the city of Solo, Central Java, where the attack took place.

The coordinating minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, said earlier another person injured in the attack had died at a hospital, Reuters reports.

Seventeen people were wounded in the explosion outside a Protestant church just after Sunday service in Solo, local police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Djihartono told Reuters.
“The one killed in front of the church is highly suspected as the suicide bomber,” he said.

Suyanto said authorities would examine closed circuit footage from the church to identify the suicide bomber.

Solo is the hometown of radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, considered the spiritual leaders behind the group that killed more than 200 people in Bali in 2002.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim Country, has been the scene of some major attacks by militants and radical groups over the past decade, but there have been few attacks recently.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the attack, and said it may be related to an earlier religious violence incident.
“Initial investigation has shown that the attack is related to the bomb attack at a mosque at the Cirebon Police complex about six months ago,” said Yudhoyono.
“This is real threat based on intelligent reports and not engineered by the police or any other parties.”

Last April, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque inside a police compound in the town of Cirebon, Central Java, wounding police officers and local government officials.



Religious tensions still bubble near the surface in the officially secular nation. Religious conflicts flared up between Muslims and Christians in Maluku and Sulawesi, in the eastern part of the sprawling archipelago, following the overthrow of former President Suharto in 1998.