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Bomb attacks occur at three Surabaya churches

Bomb attacks occur at three Surabaya churches

Police bomb experts were called in to disarm still active explosives at the Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya (Surabaya Centre Pentacostal Church), with an AFP reporter at the scene hearing two loud explosions.

"There have been three attacks at three churches", Frans Barung Mangera, a spokesman for East Java police said.

One person died in a hospital, bringing the death toll to eight, police said. "In total 13 people are being treated at the hospital", East Java police spokesman added.

The attacks may have been carried out by suicide bombers, although none of the terrorist groups has claimed the responsibility of the attacks yet.

Indonesian investigators say a local organization supporting the Islamic State militant group was behind the church explosions in Surabaya on Sunday.

Indonesian television showed debris scattered around the entrance of one of the churches and police closing off certain areas as crowds began to gather.

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Indonesia's 260 million people includes significant numbers of minority Christians, Hindus and Buddhists but there are concerns over rising sectarian intolerance and militancy.

Authorities were also investigating whether there was an explosion at a fourth church.

The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour stand-off at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

An official of the country's intelligence agency told the media that the explosions were coordinated terror attacks by the organization. "One was wearing black trousers and one with a backpack", said Samsia, who uses a single name.

Extremists have mounted a series of attacks against Christians and other minorities in recent years.

It was the first major attack in Jakarta since Jemaah Islamiyah's 2009 simultaneous attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, which left seven people dead.


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