JAKARTA BLAST KILLS 16, SUICIDE BOMBER SUSPECTED

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Aug. 6) - Authorities in
Indonesia say they suspect a suicide bomber carried out yesterday's car bomb
attack on a Jakarta hotel that killed at least 16 people and wounded almost 150
others.

The blast at the Marriott hotel appears to have been aimed at
foreigners.

One Dutch citizen was among those killed.

Overnight reports said an Australian had died, but Department of
Foreign Affairs (DFAT) spokesman Phillip Allars says that is wrong.

"We are aware of last night's media report of one
Australian among the dead but our embassy has investigated this report and we
believe it was based on incorrect information," he said.

A Melbourne businessman was slightly injured in the hotel
restaurant and has been discharged from hospital.

Allars says other Australians received minor injuries, but none
is life threatening.

"Obviously with a blast of that size there were a number of
people who received minor cuts and bruises and various other sorts of physical
injuries associated with the blast."

After the blast, piles of broken glass, pieces of burned,
twisted metal and clothing littered the street in front of the hotel.

Police say a van carrying a parcel bomb was driven to the front
entrance of the hotel and then the bomb was detonated.

Terrorism experts believe the attack was planned by Jemaah
Islamiah (JI) as a prelude to tomorrow's first verdict in the Bali bomb trials,
when key suspect Aozi faces a likely death sentence.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indonesian Defence Minister Matori Abdul Jalil says it is too
early to blame JI, but Indonesian national police chief Da'i Bachtiar says the
attack bears all JI's hallmarks.

"These conditions are similar to the bombings in Bali.
There is a large hole. There is a car chassis, etcetera," he said.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martina Talagowa says a
forensic analysis is being conducted to determine the composition of the bomb.

"I think at this stage we are all victims of this callous
and cowardly act. We are really in a stage of great outrage in a way but also of
horror that this sort of thing has been committed yet again in Indonesia.

"There will be no place for these people to hide. Those who
commit this heinous act will be found and will be brought to justice as they
were in Bali."

Spike Stewart lost his son Anthony in the Bali bombings and says
the Jakarta bombings are a brutal reminder.

"[It's a] big shock to think it's happened again. It hurts
you inside to think that they are allowed to get away with it again."

August 6, 2003

ABC News Online: http://abc.net.au/news/ 

 

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