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Suicide bomber targets church on Java island

A suicide bomber targeted a church at the close of services on the Indonesian island of Java on Sunday, injuring at least 15 people, officials said. Only the bomber has so far been confirmed killed in the blast.


AFP - A suicide bomber on Sunday attacked a church in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation and the scene of a series of sectarian incidents in recent years, police said.

"I can confirm that there was a suicide bomb attack in Church Bethel Injil at 10.55," Central Java provincial police spokesman Djihartono told AFP.

The church is in Solo, the home town of militant Islamist spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir who has been jailed for 12 years for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and political leaders.

Witnesses said that the bomber killed three people as well as himself, but police were unable to confirm that.

"What I can confirm now, the only person killed was the bomber. We're still investigating if there's another people killed," said Djihartono.

One witness told local radio station ElShinta that four people were killed in the blast, which took place after the Sunday's mass and people were leaving the church.

A local policeman told AFP that 15 people were injured and have been rushed to nearby hospitals.

An AFP correspondent saw the bomber's body on the ground at the church's main entrance, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, and with his left hand severed.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said that Indonesia's president strongly condemned "the act of terrorism."

"Nothing can justify this inhuman act," he told ElShinta. "It is the task of everybody to overcome this act of terrorism."

Indonesia has been rocked by a series of attacks staged by the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah in recent years, including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

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