Indonesian Police has said on Monday that the two suicide bombers who attacked a cathedral in Indonesia during palm Sunday were newly weds who joined a pro-islamic state extremist group.
As other suspects were arrested, it was confirmed that about 20 people got injured, having just the suicide bombers as the only fatalities in the explosion which took place outside the church on Sunday in Makassar city on Sulawesi Island while worshippers celebrated the start of the Holy Week.
Vanguard reported that police investigations showed that the couple who were the suspects died instantly after riding a motorbike into the church and when challenged by the security detonated a bomb packed with nails.
It was reported that about 15 victims remained in the hospital as at Monday, with two in intensive care for burn injuries. Four persons have been discharged.
Vanguard reported that Indonesian authorities said the couple, identified through DNA and fingerprint testing, had been married for about six months.
Reporters gathered that the couple belonged to an Islamic study group including several other suspects arrested since Sunday over their alleged roles in the attack.
“They each had their own role, including buying the ingredients, teaching bomb making, creating the explosives and using them,” National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo told reporters.
According to report, the male suspect, who was in his mid-twenties, left his family a suicide note which read that he was ready to die as a martyr.
Authorities said raids at several locations including at the couple’s home in Makassar and others in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta turned up a cache of powerful explosives and bomb-making ingredients.
The attack on Sunday came after dozens of suspected militants were arrested in recent months by Indonesia’s counter-terror squad.
Vanguard reported that a Makassar resident said the male bomber was a street food seller who lived in a rented house near his parents’ home. “He was nice as a kid… but when he got older he didn’t really socialise around here,” Nuraini, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.
Police said the couple were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an extremist group blamed for series of attacks, including 2018 suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya, which killed a dozen congregants.
It should however be noted that Sunday’s explosion at the main Catholic cathedral in Makassar happened just after congregants finished celebrating Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, which commemorates Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem.
It comes a week before Easter. JAD was also implicated in a 2019 cathedral suicide bombing in the Philippines committed by a married Indonesian couple. That attack killed worshippers and security forces.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, has long struggled with attacks by Islamist extremists, including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed more than 200, mostly foreign tourists.