The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said on Wednesday (07/09) that the teenager who allegedly launched a failed suicide bomb attack on a church in Medan, North Sumatra, last month, received his instructions from the Islamic State group in Syria. (Antara Photo/Irsan Mulyadi)

Medan Church Attacker Received Orders From Islamic State: BNPT

BY :ARNOLD H. SIANTURI

SEPTEMBER 08, 2016

Jakarta. The National Counterterrorism Agency, or BNPT, said on Wednesday (07/09) that the teenager who allegedly launched a failed suicide bomb attack on a church in Medan, North Sumatra, last month, received his instructions from the Islamic State extremist group in Syria.

The 17-year-old suspect Ivan Armadi Hasugian allegedly attacked the St. Yoseph Catholic church on Aug. 28, while pastor Albert S. Pandingan was leading a Sunday service. The suspect reportedly ran towards to the pulpit and attempted to stab the priest.

A bomb, hidden in the suspect's vest and bag, failed to detonate, only causing sparks and injuring the attacker. The priest was admitted to a local hospital after sustaining minor scratches to his arm.

"We have proof. He launched the attack on the St. Joseph church on the order of Bahrun Naim, one of the Islamic State leaders in Southeast Asia," BNPT chief Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius said in Medan on Wednesday.

Suhardi added that the agency believes the suspect had been radicalized through the internet and social media, as many radical groups specifically target young people in this way.

The counterterrorism chief urged families and schools to carefully monitor young people in their care to prevent the possibility of radicalization.

"If you see some kid who is extremely introverted and who does not want to mingle with others, you should report it to make sure further steps can be taken," Suhardi said.

Initial investigations by the North Sumatra Police, which included questioning witnesses and the suspect's family, found that Ivan had built and attempted to detonate bombs several times before the failed attack.

Police have not yet named any suspects in the terror attack as investigations are still continuing.

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