Surabaya bombings

2018 Surabaya bombings
Surabaya bombings is located in Surabaya
Surabaya bombings (Surabaya)
Location of the attacked churches, police headquarters in Surabaya, and Wonocolo apartment in Sidoarjo
LocationSurabaya and Sidoarjo, Indonesia
Coordinates7°17′20″S 112°45′37″E / 7.28889°S 112.76028°E / -7.28889; 112.76028 7°16′54″S 112°43′57″E / 7.28167°S 112.73250°E / -7.28167; 112.73250 7°15′50″S 112°43′33″E / 7.26389°S 112.72583°E / -7.26389; 112.72583 7°20′56″S 112°41′50″E / 7.34889°S 112.69722°E / -7.34889; 112.69722 7°14′20″S 112°44′12″E / 7°14′20″S 112°44′12″E / -7.23889; 112.73667
Date13–14 May 2018
13 May attacks:
  • 06:30 – 07:53 WIB (UTC+07:00) (Surabaya churches)[1]
  • 20:30 – 21:20 WIB (UTC+07:00) (Sidoarjo)[2]

14 May attack:

  • 08:50 WIB (UTC+07:00)
    (Police HQ)[2]
Target3 churches
1 apartment complex
1 police headquarters
Attack type
Suicide bombings
Deaths28 (15 victims, 13 attackers)[a][3][4][5][6]
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorsJamaah Ansharut Daulah (Southeast Asian branch of  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)
MotiveIslamic extremism

The 2018 Surabaya bombings were a series of terrorist attacks that initially occurred on 13 May 2018 in three churches in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. The explosions took place at Immaculate Saint Mary Catholic Church (Gereja Katolik Santa Maria Tak Bercela, SMTB) on Ngagel Madya Street, Indonesia Christian Church (Gereja Kristen Indonesia, GKI) on Diponegoro Street, and Surabaya Central Pentecost Church (Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya, GPPS) on Arjuno Street. The first explosion took place at the SMTB Church; the second and third explosions followed within an hour.

The fourth bombing occurred in an apartment complex in Sidoarjo, a regency located south of Surabaya. The explosion happened when the terrorists accidentally set off the bombs inside the room, killing three of them and injuring two children and a teenager. The fifth bombing occurred on the next day at the Surabaya Police Headquarters (Mapolrestabes Surabaya). Two perpetrators detonated their devices while they were being checked by the police at the entrance.

As of 1 June 2018, 28 people were killed including the suicide bombers. Around 50 others were injured; several were in critical condition. The attacks occurred just days after the standoff at Mako Brimob in Depok, in which five police officers were killed. The attacks are the deadliest terror attack in Indonesia since the 2002 Bali bombings.

The bombings were regarded as one of the most sophisticated and complex terror attacks in Indonesia. It was also the first of its kind in Indonesian history in which children as young as nine years old participated.


It was estimated in 2017 that hundreds of Indonesians went to Syria or Iraq to fight for ISIL before returning to Indonesia.[8] The returning individuals are placed through a deradicalization program by the National Agency for Combating Terrorism, and are put on a watchlist for the agency and local governments alike.[9] Several terrorist attacks, such as the Thamrin attacks, were orchestrated by the returnees or local extremists who pledged alliance to ISIL.[10]

In 2016, President Joko Widodo requested lawmakers to revise the country's anti-terrorism laws, which were published in 2003 and 2013. He questioned the law's effectiveness, with the government legally being unable to arrest perpetrators of the Thamrin attacks preemptively.[11] The revision encountered resistance, with critics remarking that the law would allow arbitrary arrests.[12] Later on, opposition arose from human rights groups due to the involvement of the Indonesian National Armed Forces in the bill, which would put the armed forces in a law enforcement role.[13] Regardless, the bill continued to press on although it was put on hold in late February 2018 as both the military involvement and the legal definition of terrorism came into debate.[14]

Between 8 and 10 May 2018, a standoff occurred at the Mobile Brigade Corps' headquarters in Depok, resulting in the deaths of five police officers. While the incident and hostage situation ended with the 155 rioters surrendering,[15] in the aftermath of the event police shot dead four individuals who were suspected terrorists allegedly travelling "to help the rioting prisoners".[16] Amaq News Agency claimed ISIL was responsible.[17]