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Indonesia Blast Kills Reveler

January 1, 2002

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A reveler was killed in a blast in Jakarta early Tuesday, and a series of explosions at churches on Sulawesi island injured three people, police said.

In the capital, a man lost his leg when a hand grenade exploded outside the Blok M Plaza shopping mall just before dawn, police said. He later died in hospital, media reports said. There was no word on a motive for the blast.

Three of the explosions in the central Sulawesi provincial capital, Palu, took place just before midnight as thousands of people celebrated on the streets. One person was injured. The blasts shattered windows at two churches.

A fourth explosion occurred Tuesday morning at the town’s Pantekosta church, seriously injuring two policeman who were examining the device, witnesses said.

The blasts were designed to cause chaos in the province, which has seen almost three years of sporadic fighting between Muslims and Christians, said police chief Brig. Gen. Andi Zainal Ishak.

State news agency Antara quoted witnesses as saying men on motorbikes hurled explosive devices at the churches.

Last month, Christians and Muslims on the island, about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta, agreed to a government-sponsored peace deal to end the conflict that has claimed about 1,000 lives.

The bombings occurred despite tight security measures throughout Indonesia. A year ago, Christmas church bombings in Jakarta and nine other cities killed 19 people.

Only five percent of Indonesia’s 210 million people are Christian. Eighty-five percent are Muslim.

Update hourly