Jakarta. A family of six carried out suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday (13/05) morning. They also comprised the cell leader of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, or JAD, in the city, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian confirmed.
Police managed to identify six different suicide bombers in the attacks on Santa Maria Tak Bercela Catholic Church on Jalan Ngagel, the Protestant Christian Church on Jalan Diponegoro and Surabaya Central Pentecostal Church on Jalan Arjuna several hours after the events took place.
"We suspect that the perpetrators are a family […] and all of them were suicide bombers," Tito said.
He explained that the father of the family initially dropped his wife and two daughters – 12 years old and 9 years old respectively – at the church on Jalan Diponegoro before making his way to the Pentecost church on Jalan Arjuna.
The bomb blast at the Santa Maria church was carried out by two brothers – 18 years old and 16 years old – who carried a bomb with them on their motorcycle.
The explosion at the Pentecostal church was the biggest compared to the other two bombings, the general said.
The three female suicide bombers at Jalan Diponegore used waist-bombs, while the two brothers carried a lap-bomb, he added.
"The family is affiliated with the JAD cell in Surabaya," Gen. Tito confirmed, adding that the family recently came back from war-torn Syria, where they lived in the so-called Islamic State.
"We suspect that this attack is connected to the pressure against IS from the international community, including the United States and Russia, and so they have instructed their foreign networks, including ones in Indonesia, to launch attacks in their own countries."
The bombings have claimed 13 lives so far, including the six suicide bombers, and have wounded 43 others, East Java Police Commissioner Frans Barung Mangera told the Jakarta Globe.
"At Santa Maria church, seven people died, including two bombers. Three bombers died at the church on Jalan Diponegoro, and three people died at the church on Jalan Arjuna, including the suicide bomber," Frans said.
Global Terrorist Cells
Gen. Tito said there are two different Islamic State-inspired groups operating in Indonesia -- JAD and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) -- and that both have active cells scattered throughout the archipelago.
He explained that the leader of Sunday's attacks was the head of the JAD cell in Surabaya.
JAD is led by Aman Abdurrahman, who is currently detained in the Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) detention center in Depok, West Java, on several terrorism-related charges, including an attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left eight dead.
Around 1,100 Indonesian supporters of the Islamic State have gone to Syria, where some of them have returned to Indonesia but still actively engage with the group.
According to the police chief, more than 500 are still in Syria and more than 100 have died there. The remaining 500 have returned to Indonesia.
"They [the returnees] are our challenges because their mindsets are still strongly connected to IS’ ideology," Tito explained, referring to the Islamic State.
Police have captured several leaders of JAD in recent months, which some believe to be the impetus to the riots at the Brimob center last week.
"So it was not about food," he stressed, refuting a previous official's claim about the origins of the prison riot.
Tito said that a new anti-terrorism law is expected to be finalized soon to help law enforcement take preventive action against future attacks.
Jokowi Condemns the Attacks
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo condemned the attacks after visiting victims of the bombings on Sunday.
"Terrorism is a crime against humanity and it is not related to any religion, [because] all religion refuses terrorism," the president said.
He called on all Indonesians to fight terrorism and radicalism together because those ideologies run against religious teachings.
"I have ordered the police chief to investigate the network of actors to their root and to the network," he added.
"The state cannot let such kinds of cowardice actions happen."