July 16, 2009

Jakarta Hotels Bombed

(Jakarta, Indonesia) Near-simultaneous bombs detonated at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels around 8AM Friday morning. Suicide bombers of the Muslim fundamentalist Jemaah Islamiyah are suspected but not confirmed.

One source reports four dead at the Marriott and four dead at the Ritz. AP reports nine dead and 50 injured.

The head of the Health Ministry crisis centre, Rustam Pakaya, said at least two people were seriously injured, including one New Zealander.

Debris and shattered glass littered the street outside the neighbouring hotels, which are in an upscale Jakarta neighbourhood, and ambulances raced to the scene.

The casualty count is expected to rise.

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Jakarta Hotel Bombing 7-17.jpg

[Update 0700 EDT, 7/17/09] After the hotel blasts, a car bomb exploded on a toll road in north Jakarta, killing two people. It's not known if the blast was related to the hotel bombs.

Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are still suspected as the perpetrators. In particular, the name of Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-maker Noordin Top has been mentioned.

Investigators allegedly found another bomb in one of the hotels that didn't explode.

Since the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton are among the most secure places in central Jakarta, there is speculation that the bombers checked-in as visitors at the hotels. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility as yet.

Sixteen foreigners are reportedly being treated for injuries at local hospitals.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono suggested that the bombings are attempts to destabilize the government and terrorists have made him a target. The bombings came only a week after Yudhoyono was re-elected.

British soccer team, Manchester United, has canceled its visit to Indonesia amid the chaotic aftermath of the bombings. The team is currently in Malaysia. Meanwhile, Indonesian stocks have taken a dip due to uncertainty.

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