Radical Islamist Kills Toddler, Burns 3 Children in Indonesian Church Bombing

Indonesia Church attack
Police stand near the scene of an explosion outside a church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia on November 13, 2016. |

A radical Islamist who threw a bomb at an Indonesian Christian church on Sunday has killed a 2-year-old girl and injured three other children, police have said.

East Kalimantan police spokesman Fajar Setiawan said the young girl, Ade Intan Marbun, suffered burns to more than three quarters of her body.

"It affected her respiratory system and efforts to save her failed and she died early Monday," Setiawan said, according to The Associated Press.

Police identified the main attacker as a 32-year-old former terror convict from the West Java town of Bogor. Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar revealed that the suspect had previously been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for a separate attack in 2011, but was released in July 2014.

 Amar, who is the national police spokesman, said the terror suspect had moved to East Kalimantan province about a year ago.

The man reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail as he was driving on a motorcycle by Oikumene Church in Samarinda, the provincial capital of East Kalimantan, before jumping into a nearby river in his attempts to escape.

The suspect was captured by locals, and TV footage showed that he was wearing a black shirt with the words "Jihad, Way of Life."

Reuters reports that at least five suspects have been arrested as of Monday in connection with the bombing, and investigators will be looking into whether they have any possible links with the Islamic State terror group.

Indonesian officials have been concerned over attacks by IS and its potential influence on the world's most populous Muslim nation, ever since the radical group started capturing territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014 and expanding into other countries.

There have been a number of small-scale bombings and attempted attacks in recent years, which have often targeted Christian places of worship.

Back in August, an 18-year-old attacker tried to detonate a bomb at a large Catholic church in Medan city, and also attacked a 60-year-old priest with an axe, but was arrested by police following his failed attack. Later reports revealed that the suspect was inspired by Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, the notorious leader of IS.

Responding to the latest attack, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said "the bomb case in Samarinda has to be investigated thoroughly."

Legislator Eva Sundari added, "This case has opened our eyes that [the counterterrorism agency] BNPT needs to improve its deradicalization program."

Setiawan noted that the three other victims of the church attack, all aged from 2 to 4 years old, are still in the hospital recovering from their burn injuries.

"We hope they can come home soon," the police spokesman said.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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