Three ISIS suicide families with children blow themselves up in Indonesia as terror attack death toll reaches 14 people
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Two radicalised families with children as young as eight have blown themselves up in a spate of “barbaric” suicide attacks which have stunned Indonesia and put the country on high alert.
Members of a third family of suspected Islamist extremists died when homemade bombs exploded prematurely as police stormed a flat and opened fire.
British tourists have been warned further attacks are likely.
ISIS claimed responsibility after two girls aged nine and 12 were among a family-of-six who killed 14 people, including children, in blasts on three Christian churches in Surabaya on Sunday.
Local media reports say the father dropped his two daughters and wife – wearing a suicide belt – at the church only minutes earlier before they blew themselves up.
And in yet another suicide attack carried out by a family-of-five, including a girl aged eight, a police station in Indonesia’s second-largest city was targeted on Monday.
The family were riding on two motorbikes when they blew themselves up at a security checkpoint outside the police station shortly before 9am local time.
CCTV shows the family arriving with children on the backs of the motorbikes and then being instructed to stop. At least one bomb explodes as officers approach to speak to them.
The eight-year-old girl was thrown during the explosion and was the lone family member to survive the attack which left at least 10 police officers and civilians wounded.
Footage shows a young girl being picked up off the floor at the blast site and then carried away amid the chaos.
In Sunday’s attacks, a father named as Dita Oepriarto dropped off his wife, Puji Kuswat, and their daughters – Famela, nine, and Fadhila, 12 – outside the Indonesian Christian Church, where the mum and girls detonated a bomb at about 7.30am, said police.
Oepriarto, allegedly acting on the orders of ISIS, then drove to the Pentecost Central Church where he blew up his van outside.
He was reported to have been a leader of a local branch of the ISIS-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) domestic terror group.
His sons, Firman, 16, and Yusuf, 18, carried out the third attack when they drove to Santa Maria Catholic Church on a motorbike and set off bombs across their laps.
Police said wave of attacks was carried out in retaliation for the arrest of radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman, the alleged national leader of the JAD.
He is facing trial for a number of deadly suicide bombings in Indonesia.
Indonesia has brought in the military to back up police across the Southeast Asian country following the suicide blasts.
Security has also been increased at churches.
President Joko Widodo said a series of attacks in Surabaya, in East Java, was the “act of cowards” as he reassured the nation that security had been increased.
He also pledged to force through a new anti-terrorism bill to combat Islamist militants if parliament fails to pass it.
The president said in a televised address: “This is the act of cowards, indignified and barbaric.”
In a third incident, three members of a family were killed when homemade devices exploded at a flat in Sidoarjo, near Surabaya, as police arrived.
Anton Febrianto, 47, and his wife Puspitasari, 47, were plotting an attack on an undisclosed target in Surabaya along with their four children aged 10, 11, 15 and 17, authorities claim.
The father was holding a bomb trigger when police arrived at the flat on Sunday night and was shot by the officers as the bombs exploded, said police.
He and his wife died, along with their eldest son, while the other children were taken to hospital for treatment, the Jakarta Post reported.
Neighbours told local media the family had lived on the fifth floor since 2015 and Febrianto had worked as a cake seller.
It was suspected the family were plotting to attack the police station in Surabaya.
Authorities are now said to be hunting a fourth family allegedly plotting an attack. The family is believed to have recently returned from Syria, the Jakarta Post reported.
Meanwhile, police had initially said the family that blew themselves up at the churches on Sunday had returned to Indonesia after living in Syria.
But on Monday police said the family had not travelled to Syria.
The family were members of the JAD, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS and has been named as a terror group by the US.
The group has been blamed for a number of deadly blasts in Indonesia, including a January 2016 suicide bomb and gun attack which left four dead in the capital Jakarta.
That attack was also claimed by ISIS and was allegedly orchestrated by Abdurrahman.
It is estimated that 700 Indonesians have travelled to Syria to fight, with the majority joining ISIS, the country’s government has said.
In October 2002, more than 200 people – many of them tourists – were killed in three explosions in or near nightclubs in Bali. The attacks were carried out by the domestic terror group Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda.
“The threat from Islamist extremism remains high, though the Indonesian authorities continue to disrupt attack planning, including arresting alleged terrorists reportedly in the advanced stages of preparation.
“Indonesian government, law enforcement interests and places of worship are regularly targeted by extremists. Western interests are also at risk.
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. Beach resorts, bars and restaurants, hotels, markets, shopping malls hosting major international brand outlets, tourist attractions, places of worship, foreign embassies, ferry terminals and airports are all potential targets.
“Be vigilant and take care at all times.”
Tourists should regularly review their security arrangements and be particularly vigilant during holiday periods, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The Foreign Office added: “There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.”