The alleged suicide bomber in the Indonesian church wounded several from Reuters

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© Reuters. Armed police guard a blocked road after an explosion in front of a Catholic church in Makassar, Indonesia

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By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Nilufar Rizki

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A suspected suicide bomber was blown up in front of a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar on Sunday and injured some people on the first day of Holy Week, police and a witness said.

The congregation was in the church on Sulawesi Island at the time of the explosion, South Sulawesi police spokesman E. Zulpan told Reuters. He said it was unclear whether body parts at the scene were only from the attacker.

Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest of the church, told Indonesian media that the alleged bomber tried to get into the church premises on a motorcycle but was stopped by a security guard. A total of ten people were injured, some seriously, he said.

Surveillance cameras showed an explosion that blew flames, smoke and debris into the center of the street.

Police did not say who could be responsible for the apparent attack and there was no immediate claim to responsibility.

Police accused the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group of suicide bombings on churches and a police post in the city of Surabaya in 2018, killing over 30 people.

Makassar, Sulawesi’s largest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country with a significant Christian minority and adherents of other religions.

Gomar Gultom, chairman of the Indonesian Council of Churches, described the attack as a “gruesome incident” as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.

Indonesia’s deadliest Islamist militant attack took place on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 when bombers killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.

In the years that followed, the Indonesian security forces achieved some great success in combating militancy. More recently, however, there has been a resurgence of militant violence.

Makassar Mayor Danny Pomanto said Sunday’s explosion could have resulted in far more casualties had it occurred at the main gate of the church rather than a side entrance.

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