Indonesia 'suicide bomber' wounds 28 in mosque blast

Armed anti-terror police commandos escort Abu Bakar Ba'asyir at Jakarta court on March 14, 2011 Indonesian police are active against terror groups which they allege are inspired by Abu Bakar Ba'asyir

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A suspected suicide bomber has attacked a mosque in Indonesia, killing himself and wounding 28 people.

Most of the wounded are police officers, as the attack happened during Friday prayers at a mosque in a police compound in Cirebon, West Java.

It is the first suspected suicide attack in the country in two years but follows a recent spate of letter bombs.

A majority of Indonesians are Muslims but the state is secular.

Witnesses said the man was sitting among worshippers when he set off the explosives.

"He was praying. From the third row, suddenly there was a blast. I was at the last row," one witness named Anton was quoted as saying by Detik news website.

"We suspect it was a suicide bombing," Indonesian police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said.

"The police have been the most active in fighting terrorism and that is why they are furious with us," he added.

The BBC's Alice Budisatrijo in Jakarta says several high profile militants suspected of involvement in past bombings in Indonesia have recently been arrested or killed by the police.

"It looks like there has been a shift in the extremists' target, from Western to state symbols," Noor Huda, a security analyst, told the BBC.

Indonesia militant attacks

  • October 2002: Suicide attacks on two nightclubs in Bali kill 202 people, many of them Australian tourists
  • August 2003: Car bomb at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta kills 14
  • September 2004: Car bomb at Australian embassy in Jakarta kills nine, injures dozens
  • October 2005: Suicide attackers kill 20 on Bali
  • July 2009: Twin suicide attacks on two Jakarta hotels kill nine and injure scores

"It's their revenge for what they see as injustice committed against them by the police and other authorities."

In December, one of Indonesia's most-wanted Islamic militant suspects, Abu Tholut, was arrested on suspicion of helping to set up a militant training camp in Aceh province, recruiting militants and raising funds for "terror activities".

The highest-profile arrest has been that of cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, seen by many as the spiritual leader of many of Indonesia's radical groups.

He is currently on trial in Jakarta.

In recent years, Indonesia has introduced a combination of new laws, anti-terror training, international co-operation and reintegration measures to tackle militancy.

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