A suicide bomber wounded 28 Indonesians in an attack inside a mosque during Friday prayers. The attack in a mosque is the first of its kind in the Southeast Asian country.
The suicide bomber detonated a waist bag packed with explosives inside the Cirebon police mosque at noontime prayers, a busy period. Eighty percent of the people who attend the mosque are said to be policemen. The Cirebon police chief was among those wounded in the blast.
The bomber wore “a jacket, a hat, and brought a prayer rug” to the service, according to The Jakarta Post. As prayers began, he moved forward and then detonated his vest.
Police have recovered the body of the suicide bomber and hope to be able to identify him. “The corpse was badly injured in the back, but the face was still identifiable,” Indonesia’s national police chief told The Jakarta Post.
Today’s suicide bombing is the first recorded attack inside a mosque in Indonesia. Al Qaeda and allied groups such as the Taliban have carried out numerous attacks inside mosques in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.
Jemaah Islamiyah, the al Qaeda affiliate in Southeast Asia, has previously targeted locations where foreigners would congregate, such as embassies, hotels, and night clubs.
Al Qaeda in Aceh, a Jemaah Islamiyah subgroup sponsored by Abu Bakar Bashir, JI’s founder and spiritual leader, has also plotted and carried out attacks against Indonesian police and counterterrorism forces. Bashir is currently on trial for supporting Al Qaeda in Aceh and can receive the death penalty if convicted.
Today’s attack takes place two weeks after Pakistani officials captured Umar Patek, a top Jemaah Islamiyah operative and one of the most wanted members of the group. Patek is believed to have traveled to Pakistan to meet with high-level al Qaeda commanders.
- 28 injured in Indonesia’s fresh bomb attack, Xinhua
- Suicide bomber wears jacket, hat, brings prayer rug, The Jakarta Post
- Suicide bomber placed bomb in waist bag, The Jakarta Post
- Police yet to identify suicide bomber, The Jakarta Post
- Senior Jemaah Islamiyah leader in Pakistani custody, The Long War Journal
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.