WINDSOR TERRACE — Catholics leaving a Palm Sunday Mass at an Indonesian cathedral were targeted by two suicide bombers apparently working in tandem Sunday morning, according to media reports.
The suspected suicide bombing took place near the side entrance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in the Archdiocese of Makassar, located on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Initial reports said at least 20 people were injured in the blast, which took place at 10:30 a.m. local time. Indonesian police told reporters the two terrorists were killed in the explosion.
Police also said evidence collected at the scene indicated that one of the suicide bombers was a woman.
The Associated Press reported that a cell phone video it had obtained showed body parts near a motorcycle on fire at the cathedral entrance gate.
Father Wilhelmus Tulak, the priest who celebrated the Palm Sunday Mass, told reporters that the suspected bombers rode up to the entrance gate on a motorcycle but were denied entry into the cathedral by security guards.
The bomb went off as one group of parishioners was leaving the cathedral and another group was entering.
Indonesian President Joke Widodo called the bombing “an act of terrorism” and vowed to hunt down anyone who helped the bombers.
The suicide bombers are believed to have been members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a militant group that has been labeled as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, according to Indonesian National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo.
After the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and before praying the Angelus, Pope Francis also asked that people pray for all victims of violence, “especially those of this morning’s attack in Indonesia, in front of the cathedral of Makassar.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined the pope “in praying for the victims of violence in Indonesia at the Cathedral of Makassar” in a tweet posted in their official account.
Sunday wasn’t the first time Indonesia has been rocked by the bombing of a church.
Suicide bombers attacked three churches, including a Catholic church, in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, on May 13, 2018. The bombings killed more than two dozen people and injured 50 others.
The article was updated to include additional details about the investigation of the bombing.