IN JUST a span of two days, Indonesia witnessed three suicide bombings that killed 21 people, including the bombers.
The first wave of bombings happened Sunday morning and targeted three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city. The bomb exploded 10 minutes apart starting at 7:30 a.m. local time.
Sunday evening, a bomb exploded at an apartment complex about 30 kilometers from Surabaya, killing three people and wounding two others.
On Monday morning, four people aboard two separate motorcycles detonated hidden explosives at a police checkpoint in the same city, killing all of them and wounding 10 others.
More disturbing is that all suicide attacks were carried out by families. The Sunday suicide bombers consisted of a mother and father, two daughters aged nine and 12, and two sons aged 16 and 18, according to police.
The mother and her two daughters had bombs strapped to their waists and they blew themselves up upon entering the Kristen Indonesia Diponegoro Church.
The father drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church while his sons rode motorcycles into Santa Maria church and detonated the explosives they were carrying.
A mother and one child died from the apartment explosion while the father, who was carrying a bomb detonator, was shot dead by police.
In the checkpoint bombing, a mother, father and two brothers died in the blast while an eight-year-old girl from the family survived the attack and was taken to a hospital.
Reports said the Islamic State terrorist group based in Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Were these suicide bombing families so radicalized that they would kill themselves together with their own children? Did they achieve what the IS wanted?
A more serious question is: Are there other families planning to do the same attacks?
It may be easy for authorities to spot adult terrorists. Now that children are being involved in suicide bombings, that would make counter-terrorism more challenging– and heartbreaking–because innocent lives are lost for an evil cause.