What is JAD? Indonesian Islamic Terror Outfit in Spotlight For Serial Church Attacks

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A suicide bomber who wounded nearly 20 people at an Indonesian Catholic church on Palm Sunday belonged to a pro-Islamic State extremist group, reports have revealed. The police have named the terror outfit behind the bombing as Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

The terrorist who blew up outside the church in Makassar in South Sulawesi on Sunday was from an Isis-linked group that had previously carried out church bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines.

"The perpetrator was part of the JAD group that had carried out the bombing in Jolo, the Philippines," police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said, according to the Channel News Asia.

Pressure Cooker Bomb

It has been ascertained that two suicide bombers were involved in the attack. The police also used the perpetrators used a pressure cooker bomb. At least four people linked to the JAD have been arrested following the attack.

Indonesia Church Blast

The two suspected bombers died in the blast.

The bombing happened on Palm Sunday morning, when Christians around the world start the Easter holy week. The churchgoers were assembled in the church when the explosion happened, the police said.

The church official said the suspected bomber had attempted to enter the church compound on a motorbike. However, the security guards stopped him at the gates, apparently forcing the bomber to set off the explosive device

2018 Attack

JAD was behind the suicide attacks on churches in 2018. The terror outfit had targeted churches and a police post in Surabaya in that attack. More than 30 people were killed in that attack.

Indonesia Church Bombing
Indonesia Church Bombing

Indonesia's chief security minister confirmed on Sunday that the attack on the church was an act of terrorism and suicide bombers were involved.

"A suicide bombing occurred at the cathedral church in Makassar ... The two (bombers) died," ," minister Mahfud MD told reporters.

Father Wilhemus Tulak said at least 10 people were injured in the attack and the condition of some of them was serious. Huge plume of smoke and dust rose from the road where the explosion happened and traffic was thrown into disarray, video footage from the scene showed.

Attack on Churches in Indonesia

Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, has been grappling with Islamic terrorism. The country's counter-terror authorities said in January this year that terrorism cells are thriving in the country. Terrorists are actively recruiting operatives, plotting attacks and spreading radical messages, they said. "They are actively recruiting, spreading their ideology, raising funds and conducting training," said the National Counter Terrorism Agency's (BNPT) director for enforcement, Eddy Hartono.

The most deadly terror attack by Islamist outfits was the Bali attack in 2002 which killed more than 200 people, most of them being foreign holidaymakers. The bombing was planned and executed by Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamist group allegedly led by radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

Indonesia terrorism alert
A security guard checks a car before entering the National Counter-Terrorism Agency building in Bogor, January 5, 2016. Reuters

In January 2016, four Islamic State-linked militants launched a gun and bomb attack in Jakarta, resulting in eight deaths. In July that year, a police station in Solo was blown up by militants, injuring a police officer.

In August 2016, Indonesian police arrested six suspected militants in Batam island for allegedly planning to launch a rocket attack on Singapore's Marina Bay.

Extremist group JAD was also responsible the suicide bombings at churches in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-biggest city, in 2018. As many as 12 people were killed in that attack, which targeted Christians attending a Sunday service.

JAD also launched another attack on Sunday worshipers at Philippines church in 2019. The attack, carried out by an Islamic militant and his wife, killed worshippers at a Catholic church in the Philippines' Muslim-majority island of Jolo.

This article was first published on March 29, 2021