Lifestyle & Belief

Suicide attacker targets Indonesian church (VIDEO)

A suicide attack on an Indonesian church has wounded at least 22 people, police said, as the country continues its struggle to rein in religion-related violence.

Concerns have grown about religiously motivated attacks in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Authorities have successfully cracked down on hard-line Islamic groups linked to bombings on Western hotels and tourist spots —such as the attacks on Bali nightclubs in 2002 that killed 202 people, many of them foreign visitors. But officials have struggled to contain other attacks, especially ones apparently aimed at intimidating religious minorities such as evangelical Christians.

The Al Qaeda-linked terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoots have been linked to many attacks.

While a government crackdown has led to the arrests and convictions of dozens of suspects, and reduced the potency of attacks, bombings by solo "jihadis" targeting Christians and others deemed blasphemous by hard-liners have continued, the AP reports. 

The AP interviewed a woman working at an Internet cafe near the church said the suicide attacker "visited her shop an hour before the explosion and browsed websites about Al Qaeda and a local Islamist group."

He also left a bag behind containing a copy of the Quran, she reportedly said.

The bomber's mangled body was found at the entrance of the Tenth Bethel Gospel Church, in the Central Java town of Solo, the AP reports.

Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said the low-intensity device appeared to be attached to the man's stomach. "We are now waiting for DNA test results to confirm his identity," Pradopo said. "We hope to reveal it soon."