SURABAYA, Indonesia - In what became the second attack in as many days in Indonesia - the country suffered its worst terrorist attack in a decade on Monday.
A day after a family of six carried out suicide attacks targeted three churches in the country’s second largest city of Surabaya, on Monday, another bombing was carried out in the city - this time, targeted Surabaya’s police headquarters.
In the attack on Monday, at least four people were killed and ten others injured.
An Indonesian police official said that the attack was perpetrated by a family of five, including an eight-year-old child.
According to the police, for the second time in two days, a family of suicide bombers, including an eight-year-old girl, waged terrorist attacks in the city using pipe bombs made from a chemical dubbed the “Mother of Satan.”
Officials said that three members of a third family were all killed in an accidental explosion in their apartment in Sidoarjo, near the city of Surabaya.
They also revealed that the apartment was believed to have been used to make bombs for yet another attack with the same chemicals.
The mother, father and one child were killed and another two children were taken to hospital and officials said that unexploded pipe bombs, similar to those used at the church earlier in the day, were uncovered.
The attack on Monday came 24 hours after another family, including four children, aged nine to 18, perpetrated suicide bombings on three churches, killing 18, including six perpetratrors, and injuring over 40 others.
Late on Sunday, Indonesian police chief, Tito Karnavian confirmed that the three families involved were all part of one network and knew each other.
He also revealed that two of the main perpetrators had also visited other terrorist prisoners in jail.
The wave of attacks has so far claimed a total of 25 people, including 13 alleged terrorists.
Further, nine more terrorist suspects were arrested and four shot dead during police raids on Sunday.
Authorities have stated that they too were planning further attacks.
The attacks have been condemned around the world, and are the first time in Indonesia that young children have been used as suicide bombers in a worrying new trend.
According to experts, the use of families with bombs has revealed the shocking new modus operandi used by ISIS.
Experts noted that militants inspired by Islamic State appear to be waging a new campaign of terror in Indonesia.
They noted that the attacks, which included the use of children as suicide bombers, were spurred on by recent arrests of leaders of pro-Islamic State cells and calls from the Syria-based terrorist group to wage attacks world-wide.
Further, other experts pointed out that the attacks come on the eve of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, set to begin on May 15 or 16.
While the vast majority of Muslims regard Ramadan as a period of reflection and charity, violent extremist groups consider attacks committed during the period particularly holy.
According to Indonesia’s National Police Chief Tito Karnavian, “Using children, this is the first time in Indonesia. A nine-year-old and a 12-year-old kid with a bomb on their waist and then committing suicide,” adding this was something frequently done in Syria but never on home soil.
General Karnavian revealed at a press conference that the orders for the bombings came from Islamic State central.
He elaborated on an initial statement by the police that pipe bombs were used in the attack, which were made from a chemical called triacetone triperoxide or TATP - a high explosive used in Iraq and Syria where it is called the “Mother of Satan” because of its volatility and ability to cause mass carnage.
Police have said that the attackers are all members and supporters of Indonesian terror group, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah or JAD, which was formed in 2015.
According to the U.S. State Department, JAD is made up of about 24 Indonesian extremist groups who have pledged allegiance to the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In 2015, the group was formed following a merger of several militant factions run by influential Indonesian cleric and convicted terrorist Aman Abdurrahman.
Despite serving a nine-year prison sentence, Abdurrahman, who is also known as Oman Rochman, is said to manage his followers, conduct recruitment and spread ISIS propaganda from behind bars.
JAD says it is "justified in using violence" to carry out its campaign for a caliphate system across Indonesia.
The group encourages attacks on the police, which it regards as "infidels” and has been declared as “currently the most dangerous terrorist organisation" in Indonesia but the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency.
Meanwhile, on Monday, following the attacks, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said, “This is the act of cowards, undignified and barbaric.”
He has vowed to fight and eradicate terrorism at its root, ordering the Police Chief not to make any compromises.
He said, “There will be no compromise in taking action on the ground to stop terrorism.”
The President has also put the country’s parliament on notice that if they fail to pass new anti-terror laws, giving authorities more teeth, by June he will bypass them and issue a new regulation.