- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2005

BALI, Indonesia — The government said yesterday that it suspected two fugitives linked to al Qaeda of masterminding the suicide bombings of crowded restaurants in tourist areas of Bali that killed at least 26 persons and injured more than 100.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, meanwhile, said more attacks are possible.

“The terrorists are still looking for soft targets,” Mr. Yudhoyono said after touring the devastated areas. He also said Indonesia will do everything it can to prevent another strike.

The wounded included six Americans.

Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top anti-terror official, identified the suspected masterminds of Saturday’s bombings as Malaysians thought to be members of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group.

The group is also accused of orchestrating the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, as well as two other attacks in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004. The nightclub bombings, which also struck venues crowded with tourists on a Saturday night, killed 202 persons, most of them foreigners.

In the latest attacks, three suicide bombers wearing explosive vests set off near-simultaneous explosions that devastated three crowded restaurants.

“The modus operandi of Saturday’s attacks is the same as the earlier ones,” said Gen. Mbai, who identified the suspected masterminds as Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top.

He said the two are not thought to be among the three suicide attackers. The assailants’ remains were found at the bombing scenes but have not been identified, he said.

“I have seen them. All that is left is their heads and feet,” he said. “By the evidence, we can conclude the bombers were carrying the explosives around their waists.”

Video footage of one blast showed groups of tourists, many of them apparently Westerners, seated at candlelit tables talking and sipping drinks in the seconds before the explosion. The footage then shows a bright flash accompanied by a loud bang and gusts of black smoke.

It was not clear whether the suicide bombers were included in the death toll, which was put at 26 yesterday, said Sanglah Hospital spokesman Putu Putra Wisada. At least one child was killed, a witness said.

One Australian and a Japanese citizen were among those killed, along with 12 Indonesians. Hospital officials were trying to identify the other victims.

The 101 wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Americans, six Koreans and four Japanese, officials said.

Dozens of people, most of them Indonesian, waited outside the morgue in Sanglah Hospital, near the island’s capital Denpasar, for news of friends and relatives missing since the attacks.

At Bali’s international airport, travelers formed long lines at checkout counters as a steady stream of taxis dropped off departing visitors.

“We were up all night trying to change our ticket,” said Veli-Matti Enqvist, 51, who had been scheduled to leave Bali with his wife on Wednesday.

They were walking on the beach when they heard the blasts.

After the 2002 bombings, there was an immediate and massive evacuation of tourists, devastating the island’s main industry.

The latest bombings struck two seafood cafes in the Jimbaran beach resort and a three-story noodle and steak restaurant in downtown Kuta. Kuta is the bustling tourist center of Bali where the two nightclubs were bombed three years ago.

The attacks came a month after Mr. Yudhoyono warned of terrorist strikes.

“I received information at the time that terrorists were planning an action in Jakarta and that explosives were ready,” he said Saturday.

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