Suicide Bomber Attacks Packed Indonesian Church

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (ENI) A suicide bomber blew
himself up on the porch of an Indonesian church packed with hundreds of
worshippers on Sept. 25, injuring 28 people, some critically.

The bombing of the Protestant Bethel Injil Sepuluh church in Solo, a city in
central Indonesia’s Java province, was the latest in a series of deadly
attacks on minorities in the in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority
nation. Witnesses reported hearing the blast 500 meters away. Religious
Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali strongly condemned the attack and urged the
police to investigate.

Police initially reported a teenage girl had died of injuries sustained in
the blast, but later said the bomber was the sole fatality. They plan to
heighten surveillance of local churches.

Solo, with a population of 500,000, is the home of militant Islamist
spiritual leader Abu Bakar Ba’asyr, considered to be the spiritual leader of
the Islamist militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has links to al-Qaeda.

Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of
suicide bombings. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar says police are
working to match the identity of the slain bomber in Solo with Achmad Yosepa
Hayat, one of five suspects in a similar attack at a police mosque in the
West Java province of Cirebon in April.

Last week, hundreds of police quelled rioting between Muslims and Christians
in Indonesia’s eastern Maluku province that left three people dead and at
least 60 injured. The rioting was sparked by the death of a Muslim
motorcycle taxi driver on Sept. 11.

Last month, suspected Islamists were behind the burning of three homes used
as churches on Sumatra Island’s Riau Province.