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Indonesia hit by new IS-claimed attack after suicide bombings

AFP  |  Pekanbaru (Indonesia) 

Four men who attacked an headquarters with swords were shot dead today and one also died, authorities said, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group rocked the country.

The assault in the city of on -- also claimed by IS -- saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers, police said.

Days earlier, two families who belonged to the same religious study group staged suicide bombings at churches and a police station in on Java island, Indonesia's second biggest city.

The attacks have put on edge -- and sparked a string of -- as the world's biggest Muslim-majority country starts the holy fasting month of from Thursday.

Four attackers were shot dead at the scene Wednesday and another suspect who fled was later arrested, police said.

One was killed by the speeding vehicle and two others were wounded in the incident, they added.

Police said the men belonged to a local extremist group, but not Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which authorities believe was behind the family suicide bombings. Both groups have pledged allegiance to IS, they said.

The bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a that would give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terror suspects.

"I'm outraged and very saddened by these acts carried out by cowards -- they have no humanity," said Pebby Magdalena, who joined a demonstration in in support of the bill.

-- which is set to host in just three months and an IMF-meeting in in October -- has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 bombings that killed more than 200 people, including locals and foreign tourists.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the bombing.

Most attacks in recent years have been limited to low-level operations against domestic security forces.

But on Sunday, a family of six -- including girls aged nine and 12 -- staged suicide bombings at three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.

All six bombers died, including the mother who was Indonesia's first known female suicide bomber. It was also the first children had been used in such attacks.

A memorial service was held Wednesday for Vincencius Hudojo, 11, and Nathanael Hudojo, 8, two brothers who died after the blast at the Santa Maria on Sunday in Their mother was injured.

Services were also held for Martha Djumani, 54, who was killed in the bombing at a Pentecostal church, just a day after she had got engaged.

"My sister was always caring towards other people and taught her children to be compassionate," Daud Samari, Djumani's younger brother, told reporters.

On Monday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in Surabaya, wounding 10.

The church bombing family were in the same religious study group as the police station bombers and a third family believed to be linked to the wave of attacks, authorities said.

"They had the and they regularly met for recital every week," said police

The coordinated church attack was a sign local extremist groups are becoming more proficient, and it stirs concerns about an uptick in radicalism as hundreds of Indonesians who flocked to fight alongside IS in the return home.

"They were better organised... (it) suggests a higher level of capacity than what we have seen in recent years," said Sidney Jones, of Jakarta-based of Conflict.

Dozens of suspects have been rounded up in raids since Sunday's attacks, while several militants, including the number two of the Surabaya JAD chapter, had been shot and killed, police said.

The church and earlier police station attacks were likely motivated by the arrest of JAD leaders, authorities said.

They followed a deadly prison riot staged by Islamist prisoners at a high-security jail near last week.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 19:40 IST