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Indonesia: Suspects Arrested in New Year's Church Bombings - 2002-01-03

Police in Indonesia have arrested suspects in the New Year's bombings of four churches in Central Sulawesi. And in the capital, Jakarta, police say a grenade blast on New Year's day that killed one man was intended to sow violence.

Central Sulawesi police spokesman Agus Sugianto says the police are holding three suspects in the bombings of three churches in the town of Palu over the New Year holiday. The men are suspected of being involved in the simultaneous bombings just before midnight New Year's Eve outside three churches. One person was injured in the attacks.

A fourth bomb exploded at a church the following day during a New Year's mass. The blast injured two policemen who were trying to defuse the bomb.

The bombings renewed tensions in Central Sulawesi, which had subsided after Muslim and Christian leaders signed a government-sponsored peace accord last month. Mr. Sugianto refuses to speculate whether the bombings are linked to religious clashes that have claimed more than 1,000 lives over the past two years.

However, Palu police chief Brigadier General Andi Zainal Ishak earlier said the bombings were aimed at disrupting the peace agreement.

In Jakarta, police say a grenade that exploded outside a shopping mall early New Year's day actually was meant to go off several meters away, where hundreds of revelers were celebrating the holiday.

The explosion killed the 21-year-old man who was carrying the grenade. Jakarta police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam says police think the man intended to throw the grenade at the crowd, but it went off before he could throw it.