Newlyweds to Blame for Palm Sunday Church Bombing: Officials

Suicide bombers in Indonesia were married 6 months before attack in Makassar, authorities say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 30, 2021 7:27 AM CDT
Newlyweds to Blame for Palm Sunday Church Bombing: Officials
Members of a police bomb squad on Monday inspect the wreckage of a motorbike used to carry out Sunday's suicide bomb attack at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Masyudi S. Firmansyah)

A recently married couple with suspected militant links used pressure cooker bombs to blow themselves up outside a Roman Catholic cathedral during Palm Sunday Mass, Indonesian officials said Monday. The attack wounded 20 people, including four church guards, and broke windows at the church and nearby buildings in Makassar, the capital of the South Sulawesi province. The couple were married six months ago and police were investigating their house in Makassar, a National Police spokesperson said. Police identified them only by their initials, "L" and his wife, "YSF," per the AP. Neighbors of the couple identified the man as Lukman and his wife as Dewi and said they were between 23 and 26 years old. The attackers detonated their bombs when they were confronted by guards outside the church. The pressure cookers contained explosive materials and nails to increase their harm to victims, said Witnu Urip Laksana, Makassar's police chief.

Police carried out DNA tests to determine the attackers' identities, Laksana said. The couple were believed to have been members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and carried out a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia, including a 2016 Starbucks attack in Jakarta that killed four civilians and four militants. One of the attackers in Makassar was believed to have had links to a 2019 suicide attack that killed 23 people at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in the Philippine province of Sulu, Indonesian National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said. He noted the two attackers were linked to a group of suspected militants arrested in Makassar on Jan. 6, when a police counterterrorism squad killed two suspected militants and arrested 19 others. The two men who were killed were being sought for their alleged role in the Philippine attack.

(More Indonesia stories.)

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