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14 injured in suicide bomb attack at Indonesian cathedral

A church security guard tried to prevent the motorbike from entering when the blast occurred.

A police officer stands guard near the cathedral.
A police officer stands guard near the cathedral.
Image: PA Images

AN INDONESIAN CATHEDRAL was rocked by a suspected suicide bombing earlier today that wounded more than a dozen as Christians inside celebrated the start of Holy Week, an attack slammed by the country’s leader as an “act of terror”.

The powerful blast outside a church hosting around 100 people in Makassar city on Sulawesi island happened around 10:30 am local time (03.30am Irish time) and left at least 14 church officials and congregants injured by debris, police said.

Authorities have said it appeared that at least one of two attackers who drove into the church compound on a motorcycle was killed in the blast.

Forensic investigators were examining the scene to determine the fate of the second suspect and to identify those behind what authorities have called a “suspected suicide bombing”.

“There were two people riding on a motorbike when the explosion happened at the main gate of the church — the perpetrators were trying to enter the compound,” National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said.

A church security guard tried to prevent the motorbike from entering when the blast occurred, they said.

One eyewitness described hearing two “very strong” explosions and then seeing plumes of smoke at the scene.

“There were several injured people on the street. I helped one woman…who was wounded and covered in blood,” Yosi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he “strongly condemned this act of terror”.

Amnesty International said the bombing showed “complete contempt” for human rights.

The explosion at the main Catholic cathedral in Makassar – a port city of about 1.5 million – happened just after congregants finished celebrating Palm Sunday.

© – AFP, 2021

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