Suicide bomber targets Indonesia mosque

Suspected suicide attacker killed and at least 17 others injured at a mosque in a police compound, police say.

    A bomb explosion outside a mosque in the Indonesian town of Cirebon has killed at least one person and wounded at least 17 others, police have told Al Jazeera.

    "A man has blown himself up ... the police is talking about a suicide bomber during Friday prayers in the mosque at the police station in Cirebon in West Java. The mosque was full of police officers at the time of the explosion," Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen reported from Jakarta, the Indonesian capital.

    Hospital sources told Al Jazeera that 17 people were injured in the attack, including the local police chief.

    Yeni Rahmawati, a hospital spokeswoman, said that most of the injured suffered from wounds to their arms, legs and torsos.

    Most of those injured were police personnel, but the motive for the attack was not immediately clear, and no group claimed responsibility immediately after the explosion.

    Early reports indicated that the suspected suicide bomber was the only fatality.

    The suspect appeared to have been wearing a suicide vest beneath his black robes, and was sitting amongst worshippers when he set off the bomb, Agus Riyanto, a police spokeswoman, said.

    There have been a series of small 'book bomb' attacks in Indonesia over the last two weeks, which targetted liberal Muslim figures and a counter-terrorism official. No-one was killed in those attacks.

    Al Jazeera's Vaessen reported that militants in the country have been focusing on police and government targets, following the arrests of over 300 people on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

    "What now seems to be the target is not so much foreigners, or people who are non-Muslims, but now mostly targeted are people who are in the government and the police," she said.

    Indonesia, a country of 240 million people, has been rocked by a series of bombings staged by the Jemaah Islamiyah network in recent years, including the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people.

    The last major bombing in Indonesia took place in July 2009, when two suicide attackers killed seven people at two luxurious Jakarta hotels.

    This attack, however, was the first time that a mosque has been targetted, Mardigu Prasantyo, a terrorism analyst at the Narapatih Centre, said.

    "This never happened before in Indonesia. It's outrageous," Prasantyo said.

    "This is much more dangerous than previous attacks in the country, as we had never thought a mosque would be a target."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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