Breaking: Family Launches Suicide Attacks on 3 Churches in Indonesia

May 13, 2018 by Brian in

As we celebrate Mother’s Day in the U.S., it’s almost unconscionable to think about a mother who would prepare a suicide bomb—alongside her two young daughters (9 and 12)—and detonated the bomb inside a church. And a father who would drive a truck bomb in front of a church and do the same—and direct his young sons to suit up in suicide vests on motorcycles to attack yet another church.

But this is what happened in Indonesia on Sunday.


Three bombs exploded across three churches in Indonesia’s Surabaya, capital of East Java province, on Sunday morning (May 13) while Christians gathered to worship.

At least ten people were killed in the attack—including worshippers, a suicide bomber, and several police officers. Over 40 others were injured.

CNN reported that the attacks were planned and executed by one family—including a husband, wife and four children. The investigation reported that the family was involved in a terrorist group with ties to ISIS.

The explosions took place at a Catholic church (Santa Maria), a Protestant church (GKI Diponegoro), and a Pentecostal church (GPPS). CNN also reported that the blasts occurred one after another between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Three other explosives were later found at two of the church premises but were successfully defused by the bomb squad.


Within hours after the tragedy, Open Doors was on location to strengthen and encourage the survivors and assess possible needs. One field officer from Open Doors reported, “A pastor [of the bombed Pentecostal church] apparently came to our Standing Strong through the Storm seminar eight years ago. His response to the tragedy is biblical.”

Officers remove the wreckage of a motorcycle from the site of an attack outside a church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, May 13, 2018.

Indonesia, which has gone up to No. 38 on the 2018 World Watch List, has survived a series of terrorist attacks for the past two decades—including the deadly Bali bombings in 2002, Jakarta hostage standoff in January 2016, and a petrol bombing at a Borneo church in November 2016, severely injuring three young children and killing another.

Just a few days before the Surabaya blasts, five policemen were assassinated by terror convicts at the Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) detention center in Jakarta.

Among the more lethal and active terrorist groups in the country are Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Jamaah Ansyarut Tauhid (JAT), and recently ISIS. Foreign nationalities, police officers and Christians are typically targeted.

It’s a powerful reminder that we have an enemy and the battle we’re in is real. It’s also a call for the worldwide Church to stand together in unity—and to join our brothers and sisters in Indonesia in concentrated prayer and petition. We need to do everything we can to let them know they’re not alone.

*We will provide more updates as the story develops, but here are three main prayer points our team members on the ground have highlighted.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the victims and their families; for strength and comfort to those who were left behind, and for recovery to those who were injured.
  • Pray for the Lord’s intervention and protection; may He overturn any further evil plans to attack believers in Indonesia.
  • Pray for Indonesian believers and church leaders to respond as Christ did and stand as beacons of light, hope and forgiveness in this tragic situation.


To provide emergency relief and support suffering believers in Indonesia.

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