Indonesian Couple Behind Philippine Church Bombing

07/23/2019 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – On Tuesday, Indonesian police announced that a married Indonesian couple was behind a suicide bombing of a Catholic church in the Philippines last January that killed 23 people.

The Indonesian couple, identified as Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani Saleh, once tried to reach Islamic State territory and were deported from Turkey along with their three children in January 2017.

They underwent a so-called “deradicalization program” run by the Indonesian government to deradicalize IS returnees and deportees, before being allowed to go home.

National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a press conference that an IS-linked man identified as Yoga Febrianto, who was arrested in Malaysia last month, identified the identities of this Indonesian couple. His confession was confirmed by Islamist militant Novendri, who had been arrested by police in the West Sumatra provincial capital of Padang last Friday.

The twin bombing hit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the southern island of Jolo, where the Philippine government has long fought Muslim insurgents. Other than the 23 perished lives, more than 100 were wounded in the assault, which took place just as worshipers gathered for Mass.

The whereabouts of the couple’s three children remain unknown.

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