Two people linked to Philippine church blast killed in Indonesia

A counterterrorism unit raiding a hideout of armed fighters in central Indonesia on Wednesday shot dead two men suspected of involvement in twin bombings at a Philippine church in 2019 that killed more than 20 people.

Police said in a statement the raid in Makassar in South Sulawesi by the Densus 88 unit led to a fatal shoot-out with two suspected fighters who resisted arrest.

Makassar police chief Witnu Urip Laksana told Reuters news agency the suspects were involved in the bombings of a church on southern Jolo Island in a restive, predominantly Muslim region of the Catholic-majority Philippines.

Police carried out “firm and calculated” action against the two suspects, Witnu said, adding an investigation was continuing.

Police suspect the men were members of the ISIL-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has carried out a series of attacks in Indonesia.

Philippine authorities have concluded the January 2019 church attack was a suicide bombing by an Indonesian couple, with the help of a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group, which has pledged allegiance to ISIL (ISIS).

Abu Sayyaf fighters also trained with the Southeast Asian armed group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was founded by an Indonesian preacher, and both groups had been previously linked to al-Qaeda.

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