A Father Hugged His Son. Then He and His Children Carried Out Suicide Attacks.



SURABAYA, Indonesia—Hours earlier than he despatched his daughters, ages Eight and 12, and teenage sons to their deaths within the title of jihad, Dita Oepriarto hugged considered one of his sons after predawn prayers at a small native mosque.

“It was fairly uncommon, usually his sons would simply kiss his hand,” mentioned Ari, a neighbor whose husband was current on the mosque. One other neighbor,

Punjung Susilo,

who spoke to these current on the mosque, mentioned it was “like he was saying goodbye.”

Oepriarto’s spouse,

Puji Kuswati,

the youngsters’s mom, was in on the murderous plan. A supervisor of funds for a girls’s group, she had left the financial savings logs with an affiliate days earlier, saying she was happening a visit, mentioned

Etty Minarti,

a neighborhood residential head of the upper-middle-class suburb in Indonesia’s second-largest metropolis the place all of them lived.

On Sunday, six family members carried out suicide bombings at three church buildings in Surabaya, killing 13 individuals. Kuswati and the 2 daughters focused one church, whereas the couple’s teenage sons drove a motorbike onto the grounds of one other and detonated a bomb, in response to police. The most important explosion was at a 3rd church, the place police say Oepriarto detonated a suicide automobile bomb.

The coordinated assault, simply earlier than the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was the nation’s deadliest in additional than a decade and the primary to contain youngsters. The bombings, and one other the following day that wounded 10 at police headquarters in the identical metropolis, additionally carried out by a household, are forcing Indonesia to confront a heightened menace from hard-line radicals impressed by Islamic State.

Oepriarto was influenced by one other household that had tried to journey to Syria to assist Islamic State however was detained in Turkey and deported again to Indonesia, police mentioned as they investigated the community of native extremists behind the assaults.

On Sunday night time, police mentioned a seemingly unintentional explosion at an house close to Surabaya killed two members of a 3rd household; police then shot one man useless. After which Tuesday, a person in Surabaya was killed in a shootout with police after they tried to arrest him for suspected involvement within the terrorist cell finishing up the assaults. Police have arrested greater than a dozen terrorist suspects because the assaults.

The households concerned within the assaults on the church buildings and police headquarters knew one another and sometimes gathered collectively on Sundays, East Java police chief

Machfud Arifin

advised reporters.

“Usually, this community has been mapped out by the police, and we’re persevering with to research,” Mr. Arifin mentioned.

A whole lot of Indonesians have traveled to the Center East to assist Islamic State, authorities say, and officers have lengthy apprehensive that those that return might flow into their teachings and technical abilities.

Neighbors of the perpetrators of the church assaults expressed shock on the household’s involvement within the bombings, saying they hadn’t observed something radical concerning the pleasant and comparatively well-off couple who despatched their youngsters to non-public faculties.

“My son usually rode bicycles with the 2 women. They had been good associates,” mentioned

Wery Tri Kusuma,

who lived next-door to Oepriarto and his household.

Mr. Kusuma mentioned Oepriarto had earned a residing promoting natural medicines. The bomber had been generally known as pleasant and calm. “He had his hair combed properly each time he went to the small mosque for prayers together with his sons, 5 instances a day,” mentioned Mr. Susilo, the opposite neighbor.

Within the Monday assault on the Surabaya police headquarters,

Tri Murtiono,

who advised neighbors he was an aluminum dealer, and his spouse, with their three youngsters, drove two bikes into the police compound and detonated bombs. All died however the youngest, an Eight-year-old woman. Within the months earlier than the assault, police had been asking about him, mentioned

Kukuh Santoso,

the top of a close-by neighborhood.

That was as a result of Mr. Murtiono had visited a jail that housed terrorist inmates, police advised Mr. Santoso. The officers wished to know why.

“I couldn’t inform them a lot,” he mentioned. “He wearing regular Muslim clothes; he had a goatee.” He mentioned he by no means heard from the police once more.

Early Monday, considered one of Mr. Murtiono’s neighbors,


who goes by one title, stopped by his home to ship ingesting water that he mentioned Mr. Murtiono ordered the day earlier than. Mr. Kasida introduced up the bombings from a day earlier, and his neighbor responded by talking in a complicated, well mannered type of Javanese, atypical for the world.

“He began speaking concerning the function of life; he mentioned life was meaningless and depends upon what God speaks to us,” Mr. Kasida mentioned. “Then he mentioned he needed to get to work.”

Write to Anita Rachman at anita.rachman@wsj.com Ben Otto at ben.otto@wsj.com



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