- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Police said yesterday they seized documents last month showing terrorists were planning to target the area around Jakarta’s JW Marriott Hotel, where a powerful car bomb this week killed up to 14 persons and injured nearly 150.

The documents were seized in a raid that netted seven persons suspected of being members of Jemaah Islamiyah, the regional militant group accused of carrying out last year’s Bali nightclub bombings.

After the document discovery in the central Java town of Semarang, Indonesian police increased security patrols in the Marriott area in the capital. “There was a warning that there were some targets and we have been anticipating an attack,” said Jakarta police spokesman Prasetyo, who like many Indonesians uses a single name.

Police said the explosives and the methods used in the Jakarta and Bali bombings were similar, leading them to suspect the attacks were linked.

Tuesday’s attackers used a mobile phone to detonate the car bomb at the hotel, the same method used by Bali bombers, and both used TNT and RDX explosives, said Indonesia’s chief of detectives, Gen. Erwin Mappaseng.

The national police chief, Gen. Da’i Bachtiar, said the Marriott bombers tried to sand down the serial numbers on the vehicle’s engine and chassis, just as was done in Bali. Police still were able to retrieve all the numbers, he said.

Gen. Mappaseng said it was too early to conclude the similarities provided a definitive link between the two attacks. But Gen. Bachtiar said those facts were leading police to focus the investigation on Jemaah Islamiyah.

Gen. Mappaseng said officers had found a badly burned head close to wreckage of the bomb vehicle. “We strongly suspect that [this person] is linked with the bomb,” he said.

Police also found two dismembered hands that could provide fingerprints of a suicide bomber, Gen. Bachtiar said.

Police released a composite sketch of one of two men who reportedly purchased the vehicle used in the bombing.

Two of the suspects in the Bali bombings expressed happiness at Marriott attack.

“Thank God. I am thankful,” Imam Samudra shouted after he testified in Bali during another suspect’s trial. “I am happy, especially if the perpetrators were Muslims.”

He is the suspected mastermind of the Oct. 12 Bali bombings, which killed 202 persons.

One of his suspected accomplices, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, grinned and yelled, “Bomb,” when asked about the Marriott attack.

Indonesia’s top security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, warned of more terrorist attacks, saying the trials of Jemaah Islamiyah members were reason enough for Muslim extremists to lash out.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said his government acquired intelligence in the hours after the bombing that terrorists could strike in Indonesia in the coming days. He did not say what the intelligence was.

The Straits Times in Singapore reported yesterday that it had received a phone call from a Jemaah Islamiyah operative claiming responsibility for the Marriott bombing. The caller said the attack was a response to the Indonesian government’s crackdown on Islamist militants.

The newspaper’s correspondent in Jakarta, Derwin Pereira, said he arranged to speak to the purported operative through a “well-placed” informant who had warned two weeks ago of an impending attack in Indonesia.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide