A suicide bomber attacked an Indonesian church packed with hundreds of worshippers Sunday, killing himself, wounding at least 20 other people, police and hospital officials said.
The attack in Solo town in Central Java province occurred as services were ending.
“I can confirm that there was a suicide bomb attack in Church Bethel Injil at 10.55,” Central Java provincial police spokesman Djihartono told AFP.
Around 20 other people were wounded, three of them critically, said Bambang Sumarsono, a hospital official.
Meanwhile, witnesses said that the bomber killed three people, but police were unable to confirm that.
Another witness told local radio station ElShinta that four people were killed in the blast.
“What I can confirm now, the only person killed was the bomber. We’re still investigating if there's another people killed,” said Djihartono.
A witness told local station MetroTV that she heard the blast just after she walked out of the Kepunton church.
“Everyone was screaming,” Fani told The Associated Press. “I saw fiery sparks and, near the entrance, a man dead on the ground, his entrails spilling out. People around him were splattered with blood.”
It was not immediately clear who was behind the explosion, which could be heard a half mile (500 meters) away.
Indonesia, a Muslim-majority nation of 237 million, has been hit by a string of suicide bombings blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoots since 2002, when a strike on two Bali nightclubs killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.
The church is also in Solo, the home town of militant Islamist spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir who has been jailed for 12 years for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and political leaders.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said that Indonesia’s president strongly condemned “the act of terrorism.”
“Nothing can justify this inhuman act,” he told ElShinta. “It is the task of everybody to overcome this act of terrorism.”
An AFP correspondent saw the bomber’s body on the ground at the church’s main entrance, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, and with his left hand severed.
Witnesses said they believed the perpetrator was not a church member.
“He walked about 4 meters (yards) behind me,” Abraham, a churchgoer, told ElShinta radio. “I believe he was disguised as a churchgoer.”