An Indonesian family of six, repatriated from former Islamic State (ISIS)-controlled territory in Syria, separately targeted three Christian sites in Surabaya, Indonesia, in May. The suicide bombings killed at least 11 people, as well as all of the attacking family members. Indonesian authorities suspect the bombers are affiliated with Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), the Congregation of the Islamic State. While anti-Christian incidents are common in majority-Muslim Indonesia, until now, suicide bombings by Islamists were not often seen there.
The same day, May 14, a second family, affiliated with the same terrorist JAD cell, also staged a suicide attack at Surabaya’s police headquarters. A third family was killed in a town outside Surabaya when bombs prematurely exploded inside their home. All three families met regularly for radical Islamic religious sessions.
Indonesia’s National Police Chief, Tito Karnavian, indicated that the suicide family that attacked the churches were among an estimated 500 people who had been deported from former ISIS-occupied land in Syria back to Indonesia.
A sizeable Indonesian terrorist group, JAD, designated a terrorist entity by the U.S. Department of State, has already pledged loyalty to ISIS, which, through their Amaq News Agency, claimed responsibility for the Surabaya attack. A JAD terrorist cell was also behind the May prison riot in Jakarta, an incident that claimed the lives of five policemen. JAD’s leader, Aman Abdurrahman (a.k.a. Oman Rochman), is currently in prison, facing the death penalty for urging his followers to attack a Starbucks and a police post in Jakarta in 2016.