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Indonesian couple carried out Philippines church bombings, police say

An Indonesian married couple are believed to be responsible for the suicide bombings of a Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines on January 27, which killed 22 people.

National police spokesman, Dedi Prasetyo identified the suspects as Rullie Rian Zeke and Ulfah Handayani, who were earlier deported by Turkey in 2017 after trying to enter Syria to join Islamic State.

“The suicide bombings in the Philippines were carried out by the two Indonesians.” Dedi told a news conference, adding that the couple entered the country illegally.

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He added that the police made a breakthrough in the investigation after they arrested two suspected members of the Jemaah Ansyarut Daulah, a local militant network affiliated to Islamic State.

Five people who were arrested by Philippine authorities after the bombings had revealed that the bombers were Indonesians, but the couple’s identity could not be established then, the spokesman said.

The January 27 bombings in Jolo town, Sulu province, killed 22 people and wounded more than 100.

Philippine authorities said the attack took nearly a year of planning and was carried out to attract funds from Islamic State and to sow conflict between Muslims and Christians. (NAN)