A series of suicide bombings were carried out by related jihadist families who forced their young children to participate in the attacks.
Three Christian churches were targeted by a family of six on Sunday, followed by a potentially related apartment complex explosion, and concluding with a pipe bombing at a police station carried out by a family of five on Monday.
This all took place in and around Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city.
Sunday’s church attacks were plotted by a husband and wife who used their four children in coordinating three separate bombings, executed minutes apart.
The mother and her two daughters, aged nine and 12, were dropped off at Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church, where she reportedly grabbed hold of a bystander and detonated bombs strapped to herself and her children.
“At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard, but the woman ignored them and forced her way inside,” an eyewitness told the Associated Press. “Suddenly, she hugged a civilian, then (the bomb) exploded.”
Subsequently, the family’s two sons, aged 16 and 18, rode motorcycles to transport their explosives to the vicinity of Santa Maria Catholic church.
Their father, identified as Dita Futrianto, crashed a car loaded with incendiary devices into the grounds at Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church.
Futrianto was reportedly the head of a local terror cell, part of the ISIS-affiliated Jemaah Anshorut Daulah network.
Hours later, a family of four adults and one child drove two motorbikes up to a security checkpoint at a police station in Surabaya, where they detonated ‘Mother of Satan’ pipe bombs, injuring multiple officers present. The 8-year-old survived the attack and is recovering in hospital.
Additionally, an explosion in a nearby residential building has been linked to homemade bombs, and all three families involved in the series of events were part of the same terror network, according to national police chief, Tito Karnavian.
“On Sunday evening, three people in one family were killed in an accidental explosion in an apartment in Sidoarjo, near the city of Surabaya, where they are believed to have been making bombs for another attack,” reports Australian media. “The mother, father and one child were killed and another two children were taken to [a] hospital. Unexploded pipe bombs, similar to those used at the church earlier in the day, were uncovered.”
With at least 12 dead and dozens wounded, the attacks are being considered the worst in Indonesia since a 2002 Bali terrorist massacre that claimed the lives of over 200.