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Indonesia Church Bombings Leave 9 Dead and Dozens Wounded

Indonesia Church Bombings Leave 9 Dead and Dozens Wounded

At least six people were killed and dozens more injured in a wave of blasts including a suicide bombing outside churches in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya on Sunday, police said, tripling the initial death toll.

Police bomb experts were called in to disarm still active explosives at the Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya (Surabaya Centre Pentacostal Church), with an AFP reporter at the scene hearing two loud explosions.

It was followed by a second explosion in another church that killed another person while two were rushed to a hospital.

"The latest update shows that eight people have died and 38 others are injured", Mangera said.

The bombings come days after Islamist militant prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

The bombings were the worst since a series of attacks on churches on Christmas Eve in 2000 killed 15 people and wounded almost 100.

Other images showed a vehicle engulfed in flames and plumes of thick black smoke as a body lay outside the gate of Santa Maria Catholic church, with motorcycles toppled over amid the debris.

An Indonesian bomb squad member examines the site following an alleged suicide bomb attack outside a church in Surabaya on May 13.

Almost 90 percent of Indonesia's 260 million people are Muslim, but there are significant numbers of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

Authorities were also investigating whether there was an explosion at a fourth church.

In 2016, ISIS said it carried out a suicide bombing and shooting near a Starbucks in Jakarta. In recent years, the country has faced a new threat as the rise of IS in the Middle East invigorated local militant networks.

The attack on a district packed with malls, embassies and United Nations offices left around 20 others injured. But former National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Ansyaad Mbai said the bombings in Surabaya could be linked to the riot that occurred at a detention center at the National Police's Mobile Brigade headquarters (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java.