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Surabaya bombing: Hero cop says any dad would do what he did

Her suicide bomber family had blown themselves up at Indonesian police checkpoint

SURABAYA: The little girl was standing amid the carnage of broken bodies, blood and twisted metal.

Moments earlier, she had been riding on one of two motorcycles used by her family to blow up the entrance of the Surabaya police headquarters on Monday morning.

Video footage showed policeman Roni Faisal rushing towards the distraught little girl - standing among the remains of her family.

He told ABC News that he was only doing what any father would do.

"I saw she was just a kid - seven or eight years old. Her face and body were covered with blood," he told the ABC. "As a father myself, my instinct was to save her. I approached, grabbed her and took her to the medics."

Four men, all members of her family, were killed in the blast, but the girl survived.

"People were yelling at her, encouraging her to stand up... as a human being, I was only thinking about saving her, even though she was involved in the bombing."

Mr Roni has difficulty understanding how any parent could put his child in harm's way.

"I am a Muslim too. No one who does that can claim to be a Muslim," he said.

On Monday, the militant family of five riding two motorbikes blew themselves up at a police checkpoint in the city, wounding 10 people and killing four of the family and two others.

Just a day before, another family of six, which included girls aged nine and 12, killed at least 13 people, including themselves, by bombing three churches in Surabaya, reported AFP.

The children were likely led to their deaths without a full awareness of their fate, said Mr Ade Banani of the University of Indonesia's research centre of police science and terrorism studies.

If a family believed in traditional roles, the father "has the power, so everyone has to obey".

"The children probably don't know what's going on or don't understand," he said.

The father of the church suicide bombers was a local leader in extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which supports ISIS.

The second family was also linked to JAD.

Analysts in Indonesia now will have to think of how to counter terror cells that involve children - purportedly used as a cover to let suicide bombers evade checks at sentry points.

But like many of their counterparts around the world, Indonesia's counter-terrorism machinery has its work cut out when it comes to quantifying, assessing and addressing the threat posed by women and children who have been indoctrinated with extremists ideals.

But Mr Roni only remembers the scared little girl all alone amid death.

He hopes to visit her as soon as she recovers.

"I don't know what I would say to her," he said. "I would only hug her and hope she is still under God's protection."

Indonesian cops kill terror suspect in Surabaya gunfight

JAKARTA/SURABAYA: A terror suspect was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the Indonesian police anti-terror squad during crackdown operations following after a series of suicide bomb attacks in the city of Surabaya yesterday.

"A fire exchange has occurred, claiming one life aged between 39 and 41," said Mr Frans Barung Mangera, spokesman for the police headquarters in East Java province, where Surabaya is located.

Further details on the terror suspect would be released after an examination by the police's Disaster Victim Identification Unit was done, he said.

The killing was part of a series of anti-terror crackdown operations in the aftermath of the attacks on three churches and a police station on Sunday and Monday in Surabaya.

At least five explosions occurred in Surabaya and Sidoarjo, killing a total of 28 people, including 13 suicide bombers, who were members of three families.

TERROR SURGE

The bombings marked a new terror surge in Indonesia with attacks carried out by entire families, including children.

Meanwhile, the police's Densus 88 counter-terrorism squad arrested another four suspected terrorists in different cities in East Java during Monday night operations, police said yesterday.

Two suspected terrorists were arrested in Malang Regency, one in Pandaan and one in Surabaya, Mr Frans told a press conference.

Police have not released the names of the newly arrested suspected terrorists but said they were connected to the perpetrators in the Surabaya attacks, including the family who blew themselves up at three churches on Sunday.

Nine terrorists were arrested in different places following the Surabaya attacks, the police said on Monday.

"That means we have arrested a total of 13 people so far and (the number is likely) to increase. They are not including those who were shot dead," Mr Frans said.

East Java police chief Machfud Arifin said in the morning that the individuals being hunted down included radical preachers in the religious gatherings frequented by the suicide bombing families. - JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, XINHUA

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