Suspects behind 2019 bombing of Philippine church killed in Indonesia raid

Suspects behind 2019 bombing of Philippine church killed in Indonesia raid

Church pews are scattered inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the southern Philippine town of Jolo after a twin explosion killed at least 20 people and injured about 100 others on Jan. 27, 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF AFP WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND

By LiCAS News

January 7, 2021

Manila, Philippines

At least two people suspected to be involved in the twin bombings of a Catholic church in the southern Philippines in 2019 were killed in a police raid in central Indonesia on Jan. 6.

Media reports quoted Indonesia authorities saying that a raid in Makassar in South Sulawesi resulted in the fatal shooting of the two suspected terrorists.

Witnu Urip Laksana, police chief in Makassar, said the suspects were involved in the bombings of a church in the province of Sulu in the Philippines’ southern region of Mindanao, reported The Jakarta Post.

He said Indonesian police carried out “firm and calculated” action against the two men who were suspected to be members of the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.

The group reportedly has reportedly carried out a series of attacks in Indonesia.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility behind the bombing of the Catholic church in Jolo town, Mindanao that killed at least 20 people in January 2019.

The attack came days after a majority-Muslim area in the region voted for greater autonomy in a referendum.

A statement from the Islamic State said the attack was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple.”

Philippine authorities later said the attack was a suicide bombing by an Indonesian couple, with the help of a faction of the local Abu Sayyaf group.

Abu Sayyaf fighters also trained with the Southeast Asian armed group Jema’ah Islamiyah, which was founded by an Indonesian preacher, and both groups had been previously linked to al-Qaeda.

More than 100 people were wounded in the church bombing, the first and so far, deadliest suicide bombing in the Philippines.

In October 2020, Philippine authorities also arrested an Indonesian woman who was believed to be linked to a separate suicide attack on a military convoy in Jolo that killed 15 people and wounded dozens of others.

The Indonesian woman was the widow of another Indonesian who was killed by Filipino soldiers in Sulu in August 2020.

She is also believed to be the daughter of two suicide bombers involved in the church bombing.

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