Asia-Pacific

Indonesia suicide church bomber kills at least one

Police outside the church in Solo, Indonesia (25 Sept 2011) Image copyright AP
Image caption The bomber is reported to have struck as worshippers were leaving a Sunday service

At least one person has been killed and several injured by a suicide bombing at a church in Central Java, Indonesia.

Witnesses said the bomber struck as people were leaving the Bethel Injil Sepuluh church in Keputon, Solo after a Sunday service.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country but is officially a secular state.

Militant Islamist groups have carried out a number of deadly attacks in recent years.

Indonesia's security minister Djoko Suyanto said two people had been killed - one at the church and one who died of their injuries in hospital. It is unclear if the two included the bomber.

"Some of the wounded were treated in two hospitals in Solo, while some of them were allowed to return home," he said.

'Inhuman attack'

One witness, Fani, said she had heard the blast as she was leaving the church.

"Everyone was screaming," she told Metro TV. "I saw fiery sparks and, near the entrance, a man dead on the ground... People around him were splattered with blood."

A hospital official, Bambang Sumarsono, said 20 people had been injured, three seriously, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Image copyright bbc

Earlier, Mr Suyanto told El Shinta radio that nothing could justify the "inhuman" attack.

"It is the task of everybody to overcome this act of terrorism," he said.

He said he had spoken to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had "conveyed his deep condolences for those who are now being treated in hospital".

The identity of the bomber and the motive behind the attack are not yet known.

Solo is the hometown of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, considered to be the spiritual leader of the Islamist militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which has links to al-Qaeda.

JI has been blamed for a string of attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

The group has been significantly weakened by the arrest or killing of many of its key leaders, but lone bombers have continued to carry out attacks. In June this year, Ba'asyir was jailed for 15 years for supporting a militant training camp.

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