World View: Islamic State-Linked Family of Six Bombs Three Churches in Indonesia

The spate of bombings has rocked Indonesia, with the Islamic State group claiming the church attacks and raising fears about its influence in Southeast Asia

This morning’s key headlines from

  • ISIS linked family of six bombs three churches in Indonesia
  • Saturday’s Paris knife attacker had links to jihadists in Syria
  • Growth of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Indonesia

ISIS linked family of six bombs three churches in Indonesia

Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze following a blast at the Pentecost Church Central Surabaya in Indonesia on Sunday (Reuters)
Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze following a blast at the Pentecost Church Central Surabaya in Indonesia on Sunday (Reuters)

Terrorist atrocities took a new turn on Sunday when a family of six – including a mother, a father, two daughters and two sons – all performed coordinated simultaneous terror attacks on three churches in Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia. At least 13 people were killed and 40 injured.

The two sons, aged 16 and 18, rode motorcycles into Santa Maria Catholic Church and detonated the bombs they were carrying.

Five minutes later, the father drove a car containing explosives and rammed it into the gate and onto the grounds of the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church.

Five minutes after that, the mother and her two daughters, aged 9 and 12, all strapped explosives to their bodies and blew themselves up at Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church.

ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) took credit for Sunday’s attack. However, their press releases made no mention that the attackers were all from the same family, indicating that, as usual, ISIS is taking credit for a terror attack that it knows nothing about, except that it was conducted in the ISIS name.

Authorities are certain that the attackers were part of the Indonesian-based Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) militant group. JAD pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015 and then conducted a series of explosions and shootings in Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta, killing four civilians. It was the first attack in the country to be linked to ISIS.

The family of six that perpetrated Sunday’s attacks had recently returned from a family trip to Syria. Like hundreds of other Indonesians, and like tens of thousands of people from over 80 countries around the world, they had gone to Syria to fight the Shia/Alawite president Bashar al-Assad, who was attacking peaceful Sunni anti-government protesters by sending missiles into school dormitories to kill children, or dropping barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous, and chemical weapons on civilian neighborhoods, or using Sarin gas to kill large groups of people.

Sunday’s attack is believed to be one that is part of a growing nightmare scenario, where the tens of thousands of young jihadis who had gone to Syria to fight al-Assad are now returning home, after ISIS lost almost all of the territory it formerly controlled in Syria and Iraq. As thousands of ISIS fighters return to their home countries, they will conduct terror attacks there in the name of ISIS. Reuters and Long War Journal and Daily Mail (London)

Saturday’s Paris knife attacker had links to jihadists in Syria

A variation of the nightmare scenario described above was followed by Khamzat Azimov, 20. On Saturday evening, Azimov traveled to one of the most popular areas of Paris, near the celebrated opera house and theatres, and started attacking passersby with a knife. He shouted “Allahu Akbar” and killed one passerby and injured four others before being tasered and then shot dead by police.

Azimov was born in Chechnya and obtained French nationality in 2010 when his mother was naturalized. Azimov had previously been flagged as a possible security risk and had been interviewed by counter-terrorism police – not because of his behavior, but because of his contacts. He was known to have links to young French people who had traveled to Syria to join ISIS.

So Azimov himself did not go to Syria and return, as was the case with the Indonesian family. Instead, he allowed himself to be radicalized by people who had gone to Syria. Guardian (London)

Growth of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Indonesia

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, about 227 million Muslims out of a total population of 261 million people. About 10 percent of the population are Christians.

Sunday’s attack was the worst terror attack since 2002, when al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah killed more than 200 people, mostly tourists, through a string of bombings at popular nightclubs and hotels on Indonesia’s island of Bali. Since then, Indonesian police have arrested or killed hundreds of people with links to Jemaah Islamiyah.

By 2014, a new generation of jihadists was coming of age in Indonesia but was impatient with the older generation that had perpetrated the Bali bombing in 2002. When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, declared his caliphate in 2014, many Indonesian jihadists immediately pledged allegiance to ISIS. There were some two dozen extremist groups competing to lead the ISIS cause in Indonesia.

Under the leadership of a radical cleric named Oman Rochman, also known as Aman Abdurrahman, Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) was formed as an umbrella organization for all these extremist groups.

Aman Abdurrahman, the leader of JAD, has been in jail for the last 12 years and is currently on trial for inciting followers to commit acts of terrorism while behind bars at a detention center which has been described by analysts as a breeding ground for pro-ISIS militants. BBC and Al Jazeera and Long War Journal (18-Apr-2017)

Related Articles:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Indonesia, Jakarta, Surabaya, Pentecost Church Central Surabaya, Santa Maria Catholic Church, Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church, Jemaah Islamiyah, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, JAD, Oman Rochman, Aman Abdurrahman, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, France, Paris, Khamzat Azimov
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