Indonesia Church Rocked by Explosion on Palm Sunday



An explosion ripped through a Roman Catholic cathedral compound in the eastern Indonesian city of Makassar on Sunday morning, shattering the calm of Palm Sunday, a holy day for Christians.

Unverified video said to have been taken at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral showed smoldering wreckage and palm fronds scattered on the ground.

Father Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest at the cathedral, told Metro TV, an Indonesian network, that a parking attendant had been burned as he tried to stop a suicide bomber. Ten people were injured, the priest said.

The cathedral was between Masses when two motorcyclists approached, looking suspicious, Father Wilhelmus told Metro TV.

Mohammad Ramadhan Pomanto, the mayor of Makassar, a multifaith port city of about 1.5 million people on the island of Sulawesi, told Metro TV that body parts were found as far as 200 meters away. He said no churchgoers had been killed.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has a significant Christian minority. In recent years, Southeast Asian affiliates of the Islamic State have targeted Christian places of worship there and in the mostly Catholic Philippines.

In 2018, three Christian churches were bombed in Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia, leaving a dozen bystanders dead. The suicide bombers were a married couple and their four children. Within days, members of two other families also set off bombs in Surabaya, blowing themselves up.

Last year, a Roman Catholic cathedral was bombed for the third time on the island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, killing at least 14 people. As with the Surabaya bombings, a local affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for that strike. A 2019 suicide attack on the same cathedral, which killed more than 20 people, was carried out by an Indonesian couple.


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