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Jakarta Post

Medan church attacker showed attitude changes, say police

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan, North Sumatra   /   Mon, August 29, 2016   /  11:25 am
Medan church attacker showed attitude changes, say police A member of the Police's Mobile Brigade guards St. Yosep Catholic Church after an attack on Aug. 28. The police named 18-year-old IAH a suspect in the attack, where he allegedly tried to set off a homemade bomb and kill a reverend during Sunday Mass. (Antara Photo/Irsan Mulyadi)

Ivan Armadi Hasugian, an 18-year-old suspect in an attack on St. Yosep Catholic Church in Medan, North Sumatra, showed a shift in attitude in the past two months, leaning toward greater conservatism, a police official said on Monday.

His family noticed changes in his attitude, his mother Arista Purba told police, according to Medan Police chief Sr. Comr. Mardiaz Kusin Dwihananto.

The shift included his refusal to greet his Christian grandmother with his bare hands during Idul Fitri. He shook her hands using gloves, Mardiaz said, quoting Arista.

Indonesians often kiss the hands of the elderly as a sign of courtesy. 

During questioning, Ivan's family also said he was often involved in arguments with his older brother relating to aqidah (Islamic creed).

Furthermore, Arista told police that her son received a package of fertilizer from an unknown sender around a week ago.

Police named Ivan a suspect following an attack on the church where he allegedly attempted to kill a priest named Rev. Albertus Pandiangan during Sunday Mass. Prior to the attack, Ivan is suspected of attempting to detonate a homemade bomb, during which he injured himself. His act was later foiled by churchgoers who restrained him as he tried to attack Albertus with a knife and an axe.

The police suspect Ivan to be an Islamic State (IS) movement supporter who took inspiration from a church attack in France last month in which two IS militants killed a priest with a knife. (rin)

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