The wife and two children of a suspected Indonesian militant are believed to have died in a suicide bombing at their home following an hours-long standoff with authorities, police said Wednesday, March 13.
The suspect, who is in police custody, was identified as a member of Jamaah Anshar Daulah, an Islamic State-linked jihadist network blamed for a series of deadly suicide bombings in Indonesia’s second-biggest city last year.
In May, two families carried out attacks at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen people and children of the attackers, including two young girls whose parents brought them to the bombings.
The following day a family carried out a suicide bomb attack on a police headquarters in Surabaya.
The explosion early Wednesday morning came after police had arrested the militant who was suspected of planning terror attacks.
Officers then surrounded the man’s home in Sibolga on Sumatra island when the confrontation began.
During a nearly 12-hour standoff, the woman lobbed an explosive device at security personnel, wounding a police officer, said national police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo.
“The information we have is that the wife of the suspect blew herself up at around 1:30 a.m.,” he told AFP, adding that authorities could not immediately enter the home over fears of another explosion.
He added authorities had later found the remains of a woman and female toddler at the scene.
Prasetyo said authorities believed there were at least two children in the home at the time of the blast.
Earlier, Reuters reported Prasetyo as saying that the couple’s son also blew himself up inside the house.
Local resident Samsul Pasaribu said the force of the blast was felt through the neighborhood.
“We thought it was an earthquake,” he added.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo said he hoped other jihadist cells in the area would be discovered, but dismissed suggestions that any planned attacks were linked to presidential elections next month.
In July, an Indonesian court proscribed JAD, bolstering the powers of police to go after the group.
Since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people including scores of tourists, Indonesia has seen a string of deadly attacks that have tested its long-held reputation for religious tolerance.
With reporting from AFP