Bomb attacks at 3 churches in Indonesia kill at least 2

A damaged motorbike is seen at the scene outside a church following a suicide bomb in Surabaya

A damaged motorbike is seen at the scene outside a church following a suicide bomb in Surabaya

Three attacks, including one by a suicide bomber disguised as a churchgoer, targeted three churches in Indonesia's second largest city of Surabaya on Sunday.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said explosions took place in three churches and 40 people had been taken to the hospital.

Debris are seen outside Santa Maria church where an explosion went off in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Sunday, May 13, 2018.

According to The Straits Times, the police chief of the province of East Java General Arifin Mahfoud told reporters that according to preliminary investigations, the attacks were made by suicide bombers who used to attack motorcycles or cars. Another two died in a third attack at the city's Pantekosta Church, Mangera said.

Images from one scene showed a body lying outside the gate of Santa Maria Catholic church and members of Indonesia's bomb squad poring over the rubble.

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The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for that incident although police rejected its involvement.

Wawan Purwanto, a spokesman for the country's intelligence agency told Metro TV that the attack was likely linked to a deadly prison hostage incident at a jail near Jakarta involving Islamist militants last week. Almost 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, but the country is also home to sizeable communities of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and people who adhere to traditional beliefs. But there has been a resurgence of Islamist activity in recent years, some of it linked to the rise of Islamic State.

A gun and suicide attack in the capital Jakarta left four attackers and four civilians dead in January 2016, and was the first assault claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.

Previous incidents have included a 2004 suicide auto bomb that killed 10 outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, twin bomb blasts that killed 22 in a market in the Central Sulawesi town of Tentena, and a suicide bombing in 2005 that left 20 dead in Bali.

More than a dozen people were also injured in three bomb attacks, including one by a suicide bomber, on three churches in Surabaya, the country's second largest city, police said.

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