Indonesian church attack family had returned from Syria: police

Jakarta: The family suspected of the trio of church suicide bombings in Indonesia had recently returned from Syria before the attack, Indonesian authorities said.

An undated photo: The family police say were responsible for the church bombings.

The attack – claimed by Islamic State – involved the family's children ranging in ages from nine to 18-years-old. All family members died in the attacks, which killed another seven people and injured dozens more.

There were few outward signs of trouble from the family, locals said. Khorihan, a neighbour of the family, said the man identified as the father, Dita Oepriarto, was a "friendly and kind person" who "never missed a call for prayer".

Oepriarto's wife, identified by Indonesian authorities as Puji Kuswati, regularly attended a women's community gathering, said Khorihan, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name.

"She wasn't distant, she was quite friendly."

"She only wore a normal hijab, not fully covered like what you would expect if she was radicalised," he said.

Members of police bomb squad inspect wreckage of motorcycles at the site where an explosion went off outside a church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.

Oepriarto, the father, produced and sold candlenut and had lived in the area since 2012, Khorihan said.

The church bombings were the first since the Bali bombing of 2005 in the Muslim-majority but religiously diverse nation. They were the bloodiest bombings of Christian churches since Christmas Eve, 2000, when 15 people were killed.

Christians make up about 9 per cent of Indonesia's 260 million people.

Khorihan last saw Oepriarto on the morning of the attack at the mosque. He said they exchanged greetings and shook hands after the prayer.

"I didn't notice anything different … I saw him hugging his boys after prayer, but that's normal for a parent to hug and hold his kids, nothing out of ordinary."

"I didnt speak to him [but] just exchanged greetings."

Days earlier Islamist militant prisoners killed five members of an elite Indonesian counter-terrorism force, Detachment 88, at a high-security jail in Jakarta and took another officer hostage.

The hostage was eventually released after a 36 hour stand-off. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, too.

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