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8-Year-Old Suicide Bomber: ISIS Inspired Family Attacks 3 Churches in Terror Rampage

05-14-2018
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Multiple suicide attacks have struck Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya.

On Monday, CCTV captured the moment when five suspected Islamic militants, including an 8-year-old child, riding two motorcycles blew themselves up at a security gate leading to a police headquarters.

Video uploaded to Twitter shows the moment the attackers hit the security gate.
 

"We can confirm a police officer was a victim of the explosion," said Frans Barung Mangera, Surabaya police spokesman.

Authorities said the family received instructions from ISIS headquarters.

"They received instruction from the ISIS central command," said Indonesia's top police official Tito Karnavian. "They are being squashed there and issued instructions to their cells around the world to make a move."

Then on Sunday, suicide bombings at three churches rocked the city.

"It was 7:50 in the morning, and the church was announcing the plans for next week when the blast happened," Anton, a local resident of Surabaya, said. "Everyone was scared."

In a gruesome, unusual twist, the attackers, all wearing suicide vests, were a family of six: father, mother, two daughters and two sons. The children's ages ranged from 9 to 18.

The two sons struck first, hitting Santa Maria Catholic Church, some 500 miles from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.

Video posted on Twitter showed the brothers riding a motorcycle into the grounds of the church and detonating their bomb.

"Fifteen people were injured, including police who stood guard in front of the church," said Barung, a police spokesperson.
 
Five minutes later, the mother and her two daughters walked into Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church and detonated their explosives.

Reports say this was the first time a woman carried out a suicide bombing in Indonesia.
 
"I was in a food court after the first mass," Fang, a witness to the attacks, told local reporters. "I suddenly heard the explosion from nowhere."

The father then drove his bomb-laden car across town to Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church.
 
In all, 13 people were killed and more than 40 others wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"This act of terrorism is really barbaric and beyond the limit of humanity," said Joko Widodo, Indonesia's president  "It has inflicted casualties among the people, police and innocent children, including the perpetrator herself and her ten-year-old children, which acted as suicide bombers."

The parents reportedly belonged to a terror group with ties to Islamic State.

"These perpetrators, who come from one family, are linked to a Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a group based in Surabaya," said Karnavian.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, has seen a rise in Islamic extremism in recent years.

Reports say more than one thousand Indonesians joined ISIS to fight the war in Syria. Many of them have now returned home.

"The incidence of bomb attacks is linked to domestic, regional, southern Philippines and also linked to networks in the Middle East," Karnavian told reporters at a Monday press conference.

President Widodo said that his police chief would fully investigate the crimes of terror.

"I have ordered the chief of Indonesian police to investigate the links of the perpetrators and ordered him to unveil their links to their root," Widodo said. "The entire state apparatus will not allow such cowardly actions."

With the rise in fanaticism, religious minorities, especially Christians, are often targeted by Islamic militants.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the nature of Sunday's attack - involving an entire family - "almost beggars belief."

"These people are the worst of the worst," Turnbull said. "They are threatening civilized nations, they're threatening civilized way of life. They're threatening people's harmony and religion."

On Sunday, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of Indonesia's church attacks.

"I am particularly close to the beloved people of Indonesia. Especially to the Christian communities in Surabaya, strongly hit by the attack against the churches, I pray for all the victims and their relatives," Pope Francis expressed on Sunday during mass at the Vatican.

"Let's invoke together the God of peace, in order to stop these violent actions, may everyone's hearts host sentiments of reconciliation and brotherhood, not sentiments of hate or violence," the Pope added.

This weekend's bombings were the worst against Christians in Indonesia since the Christmas 2000 attacks when Islamic terrorists killed 15 people and wounded nearly 100.

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