On the first day of the Easter Holy Week, two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar, injuring fourteen people, according to the country’s national police.
According to police, the blast occurred on Sunday when the congregation was inside the church on the island of Sulawesi, just as the mass was coming to a close.
The explosion injured fourteen people, according to national police spokesman Argo Yuwono.
The only people killed were the two suspects.
The bomber had acted alone, according to local authorities.
The church’s security guards believed two motorists who wanted to reach the church, according to Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest who was leading mass at the time of the blast.
After being confronted by guards, one of them exploded his explosives and died near the gate.
He said the explosion happened about 10:30 a.m. (03:30 a.m. GMT) and that no worshippers were injured.
A blast was captured on security camera video, which blew flames, smoke, and debris into the middle of the lane.
If the explosion had happened at the church’s main gate rather than a side entrance, Makassar Mayor Danny Pomanto claims there would have been far more casualties.
Police did not say who might be responsible for the apparent attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Police blamed the ISIL-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group for suicide attacks in 2018 on churches and a police post in the city of Surabaya that killed more than 30 people.
Boy Rafli Amar, the head of the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency, described Sunday’s attack as an act of “terrorism”.
Makassar, Sulawesi’s biggest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country with a substantial Christian minority and followers of other religions.
“Whatever the motive is, this act isn’t justified by any religion because it harms not just one person but others, too,” Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said in a statement.
Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, described the attack as a “cruel incident” as Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.
The deadliest attack in Indonesia occurred in 2002 on the tourist island of Bali, when bombers killed 202 people, the majority of whom were foreign visitors.
In the years since, Indonesian security forces have had some significant victories in combating armed groups, but violence has recently resurfaced.