Indonesian police were investigating a suspected terror attack by a knife-wielding assailant on a priest during the Sunday service at a church, and a bomb squad had been deployed to determine whether the attacker’s backpack contained explosives.
“A terrorism act was carried out on Sunday morning at the Saint Joseph catholic church,” said Rina Sari Ginting, spokeswoman for Medan police in a statement. “Police are interrogating the perpetrator… and will search his house for any bomb-making materials.”
Police in Indonesia are investigating a suspected terror attack after a would-be suicide bomber carrying a “hand-drawn Isis symbol” attacked a Catholic priest with an axe and failed to detonate explosives in a church.
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The 18-year-old assailant ran towards the priest during a crowded Sunday Mass in Medan, after a bomb in his backpack burned without exploding, national police spokesman Major General Boy Rafli Amar said.
The attacker also took an axe from his backpack and used it to attack 60-year-old Reverend Albert Pandiangan before he was restrained by church-goers, Major General Amar said.
There were no serious casualties, but the priest sustained a minor injury to his hand and the attacker was also injured, police in Medan city, northern Sumatra said.
The motive for the attack at the Roman Catholic Saint Joseph Church remains unclear, however the teenager was found with a symbol indicating support for Isis.
Images published in local media showing objects confiscated from the teenager by police show his ID along with what appears to be a hand-drawn Isis flag.
Vero, a member of the congregation of St. Yosep Catholic Church in Medan, North Sumatra, was in shock after realizing the man sitting right next to her was attempting to bomb her church during Mass on Sunday.
He also seemed not know what to do during the service and was very fidgetinty.
“He was fidgety the whole time. He also could not follow our ritual,” Vero told The Jakarta Post after the bombing and attempted murder of the priest at the church.
When Father Albertus Pandiangan began his sermon, Vero said, the suspect took out some cables and connected them to something she suspected was the detonator. It caused a small explosion-Vero.
Timbas Ginting, a witness present in the church, told Reuters the attacker had sat with other worshippers before running toward the priest.
“There was a small explosion like fireworks and he also took out a knife as he ran toward the priest,” he said.
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A bomb squad later arrived at the church to investigate whether the assailant was carrying other explosives.
Rina Sari Ginting, a spokeswoman for Medan police said in a statement: “A terrorism act was carried out on Sunday morning at the Saint Joseph catholic church.
“Police are interrogating the perpetrator… and will search his house for any bomb-making materials.”
Mr Amar said the attacker told authorities he had not been working alone. No more details have been given.