In that so-called ‘moderate’ Muslim country of Indonesia, a suicide bomber blew himself up as worshippers were praying on Friday, wounding 28 in the first attack on a mosque since Islamic terrorists started targeting the predominantly Muslim country a decade ago.
MSNBC – JAKARTA, Indonesia -The victims, including a local police chief, were rushed to hospitals with nails, nuts and bolts embedded in their bodies, said Yeni Rahmawati, a hospital spokeswoman.
Though houses of worship are commonly targeted by militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Irq, the attack in the West Java town of Cirebon was a first for Indonesia. Experts worry it could signal a “hardening” of local militants and a shift in tactics.
Indonesia, a secular nation of 237 million people, was thrust into the front lines in the battle against terrorism in 2002, when the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah attacked two crowded nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.
Several, less deadly suicide bombings have targeted Westerners since then. The most recent was two years ago, which experts attribute in part to a successful police crackdown.
They’ve since attacked several police posts, but never a mosque, and Friday’s move showed just how little they seem to care now about public opinion. Even former Jemaah Islamiyah members were outraged.
“To attack Muslims as their performing Friday prayers?!” said Abu Ghifari, who quit the group because he disagreed with some of its doctrines. “It’s a great sin!” (But not a word when they blow up churches)
West Java police chief, Maj. Gen. Suparni Parto, told El-Shinta radio the mangled body of the suicide bomber was found at the scene. He was apparently wearing a suicide vest beneath his black Islamic robes and sitting among dozens of worshippers when he set off his bomb with a cry of “God is great!” said Agus Riyanto, a police spokesman.