POLICE in western Indonesia say a would-be suicide bomber failed to detonate explosives in the packed St Yoseph Catholic Church in Medan, North Sumatra, during Sunday mass.
National police spokesman Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar says the assailant left a bench and ran toward a priest at the altar but a bomb in his backpack apparently did not detonate and left the attacker injured.
Amar says the man kept running toward the priest with a burning backpack as the congregation chased and captured him.
The motive of the attack is not clear but a report by Jakarta Post said churchgoers claimed the perpetrator was carrying with him symbols resembling the Islamic State (IS) logo.
According to a Reuters report, the priest at the church also suffered minor injuries.
A witness told the wire agency that the attacker was sitting with other worshippers before the attempted bombing.
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“There was a small explosion like fireworks and he also took out a knife as he ran toward the priest,” Timbas Ginging was quoted as saying.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has suffered a spate of deadly attacks by Muslim militants since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
Earlier this month, Indonesian authorities said they have increased surveillance in Bali following reports that the popular resort island may be the target once again of another terrorist attack.
Police had earlier nabbed a militant believed to be behind the July suicide bombing at the Surakata (also known as Solo) police base and preliminary investigations revealed that the man may have been planning to stage an attack in Bali.
Earlier this year in January, a shootout and bomb attack took place in the capital of Jakarta, killing eight people, including four IS-linked insurgents.
Additional reporting by Associated Press