A would-be suicide bomber has failed in an attempt to blow himself up during mass at a Catholic church in Indonesia, using an axe to assault a priest after his bomb did not detonate.

Police said the 18-year-old ran towards the altar of the packed church but the explosives in his backpack only burned, not fully exploding.

Realising the suicide bomb had failed, the assailant took out an axe from the bag and used it to attack 60-year-old Albert Pandiangan. The priest received a slight injury to his left hand, according to national police spokesman Major-General Boy Rafli Amar.

Attendants at the Roman Catholic St. Yoseph Church in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, were able to the restrain the man.

Local chief detective Nur Fallah said the explosives were rudimentary.

“Somebody tried to kill the priest by pretending to attend the church service and at that time tried to explode something, like a firecracker, but the firecracker didn’t explode, it only fumed,” he said.

Police said the man was carrying a piece of paper with a hand-drawn Islamic State symbol on it.

“He sat in the same row as I did ... I saw him fiddling with something in his jacket, and then I heard a small explosion and he immediately ran to the podium,” said eyewitness Markus Harianto Manullan.

Another member of the congregation told the Jakata Post that the attacker “was fidgety the whole time” and was unable to follow the church’s rituals.

There have been several attacks on religious minorities in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

A January suicide attack in the capital Jakarta killed eight people, including four attackers.

Police are still investigating the motive for Sunday’s attempted bombing. Authorities detonated the man’s belongings.

National Counter-terrorism Agency Chief Suhardi Alius said the suspect was only a “puppet”.

“Considering his young age, there has to be someone else who supports him. We are currently digging to seek his identity,” he said.

Courtesy, The Guardian