July 20, 2009 in Nation/World

Recovered material links Indonesia attacks

Explosives ‘identical’ to those from Bali blasts
Irwan Firdaus Associated Press

Fugitive sought

Anti-terrorism police were hunting for Noordin Mohammad Top, a fugitive Malaysian, who has been linked to four major strikes in Indonesia since 2002.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Explosive material recovered from the scene of two suicide bombings at hotels in the Indonesian capital is “identical” to that used by the Southeast Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah in earlier attacks, police said.

An unexploded bomb left in a room of the J.W. Marriott in Jakarta resembled devices used in attacks on Bali and one found in a recent raid against the network on an Islamic boarding school in Central Java, national police spokesman told a news conference Sunday.

The culprits in Friday’s attacks that killed nine and wounded 50 are believed to have belonged to Jemaah Islamiyah “because there are similarities in the bombs used,” Maj. Gen. Nanan Sukarna said.

Anti-terrorism police were hunting for Noordin Mohammad Top, a fugitive Malaysian who heads a particularly violent offshoot of the network and has been linked to four major strikes in Indonesia since 2002.

The twin suicide bombings at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels came four years after the last serious terrorist attack in Indonesia and unleashed a new wave of anxiety in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Indonesia had been enjoying a period of stability, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was re-elected to a second term earlier this month, partly on the strength of government efforts to fight terrorism.

The latest attacks killed seven, plus the two attackers, and wounded 50, many of them foreigners.

Investigators have been examining body parts and other forensic evidence in an attempt to identify the two bombers, one of whom is believed to be Indonesian.

They were decapitated in the explosions, and confirming their identity could help determine if they had links to Noordin.

The official Antara news agency said Sunday that the government was intensifying efforts to find Noordin and trace the network’s finances to try to uncover any links to Friday’s blasts.

Among the dead was Craig Senger, the first Australian government official to be killed in a terrorist attack, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Sunday. Senger worked as a Trade Commission officer at the embassy in Jakarta.

Officials said 17 foreigners were among the wounded, including eight Americans.

Jemaah Islamiyah rose to prominence after the 2002 nightclub bombings in the beach resort of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them foreigners.

It staged attacks in Indonesia in each of the next three years: a 2003 car bombing outside the J.W. Marriott hotel, a 2004 truck bombing outside the Australian Embassy, and triple suicide bombings on Bali restaurants by attackers carrying bombs in backpacks in 2005.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email