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Bomb attacks on Indonesia churches kill 9, injure 40

Indonesian counterterrorism forces secure the site following a bomb attack outside a church in Surabaya, on May 13, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

At least nine people have been killed and 40 others injured in bomb attacks targeting churches in Indonesia's second biggest city, Surabaya.

“There have been three attacks at three churches,” East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.

The deadly blasts all occurred within 10 minutes of each other, police said, with the first explosion happening at 7:30 am local time (0030 GMT).

“Nine people are dead and 40 are in hospital,” Mangera told reporters, adding that two police officers were among the injured.

The explosions targeted the Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church, and the Pentecost Central Church.

Security forces have cordoned off the sites, and bomb disposal squads have been deployed to diffuse more potential bombs.

An Indonesian bomb squad member examines the site following a bomb attack outside a church in Surabaya, Indonesia, on May 13, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Indonesia’s intelligence agency said the attacks were suspected to have been conducted by assailants from a Daesh-linked network called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has hundreds of followers in the island country.

Asked about who was behind the deadly assaults, Wawan Purwanto, the communication director at the agency said, “Still the old group, JAD, who has planned this for some time.”

Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has claimed responsibility for suicide attacks against three churches.

Churches in Indonesia are regarded as a common target for extremist groups.

Indonesian police shot and wounded a sword-wielding man who attacked a church congregation in Sleman district during Sunday Mass in February.

Last year, the military chief in Jakarta announced that the Daesh terrorist group was present in almost all Indonesian provinces as the group lost territory in the Middle East.

Indonesian law enforcement agencies have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown in recent years.

At least 400 Indonesians are believed to have previously joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria, where the Takfiri outfit used to control territory.

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