Rense.com



Car Bombing In Jakarta
Many Dead & Injured

8-5-3

A huge car bomb killed 10 people and wounded dozens more after ripping through a luxury hotel in the heart of Indonesia's capital.
 
The city's governor said a suicide bomber was probably responsible for the attack -- timed as thousands of office workers poured onto the streets for their lunch break.
 
Jakarta detective Andi Chaeruddin said the blast originated in the basement of the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuningan on one of the main roads through Jakarta's business district.
 
Police spokesman Prasetyo said one foreigner was among the 10 killed and two Americans, two Singaporeans, an Australian and a New Zealander among the 83 injured.
 
"It was like an earthquake," said Mellani Solagratia, the hotel's public relations manager.
 
Flames and thick clouds of smoke billowed from the lobby area of the hotel hours after the blast. Cars and other vehicles were set ablaze and staff and guests swiftly evacuated -- many leaving half-eaten meals on their tables in the hotel's restaurants.
 
"There is a strong possibility this was a suicide bomber," said Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso.
 
Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil was more blunt, saying it was a bomb and calling it "clearly an act of terrorism".
 
Washington said last week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network was planning new suicide hijackings and bombings in the United States and abroad. The U.S. embassy held its 4th of July independence celebrations at the hotel.
 
The bomb coincided with high-profile trials in Indonesia of suspected Islamic militants on bomb-related charges -- including that of influential Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, accused of leading the Jemaah Islamiah network blamed for a series of attacks on Western targets in the country.
 
Warnings of attacks
 
"Intelligence agencies have warned for months now of the possibility of attacks and the bulk of Jemaah Islamiah remains at large," said security expert Andrew Tan at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies.
 
"This shouldn't be a surprise because in the last couple of months there have been indications that more terrorist attacks are entirely plausible in a place like Indonesia."
 
A court in Bali was expected on Thursday to deliver its first verdict in the trials of those charged with planting bombs that killed 202 people on the resort island in October last year.
 
The Marriott -- popular with foreign businessmen -- is close to the diplomatic area of Menteng where dozens of Western embassies and consulates are based.
 
Menteng, Jakarta's most exclusive suburb, is also home to Indonesian cabinet members, lawmakers, senior army officials and tycoons.
 
The explosion had an immediate effect on Indonesia's financial markets with stocks falling an initial five percent and the currency also slipping against the dollar.
 
The Marriott, which opened in September 2001 and has 33 floors and 333 rooms, is the latest luxury hotel in the bustling city, home to over 10 million people.
 
© Reuters
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