From: "Pedro Martori"
Subject: Al Qaida said to be behind Bali carnage
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 21:56:53 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 21:56:21 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Al Qaida said to be behind Bali carnage
By Sukino Harisumarto
From the International Desk
Published 10/14/2002 7:57 PM
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JAKARTA, Indonesia, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. and Indonesian
officials are blaming Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terror network
for the powerful blasts that brought Saturday night's carnage at
two popular nightspots on the island of Bali, killing more than
180 people and injuring over 300 others.
"I believe that there is a link-up between al Qaida and with what
happened in Bali," Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil said
Monday. "What happened in Bali makes me sure that the al Qaida
network exists in Indonesia."
The remarks are the first acknowledgement by any Indonesian
official that the Islamic terror organization is operating in the
country, despite the long-held suspicions of its neighbors and
the United States.
"I think we have to assume it's al Qaida," President George W.
Bush told reporters in Washington. "We're beginning to hear some
reports that's more definitive than that, but I wait for our own
FBI agents and more than 40 Australian federal detectives have
joined the Indonesian police investigation into the explosions in
the beach resort of Kuta. The first, smaller blast came at about
11.30pm local time outside a bar called Paddy's. A few minutes
later, a much larger explosion tore through the Sari club -- a
disco frequented mainly by Western tourists -- which was packed
The bomb turned the nightspot into a raging inferno and set off
other blasts as the flames ignited gas cylinders used for
A much smaller device exploded harmlessly at the same time 100
yards from the U.S. Consulate in the island's nearby capital
Bali -- a mainly Hindu enclave in predominantly Moslem Indonesia
known locally as "the island of the Gods" -- has largely escaped
the ethnic and religious strife that has plagued other parts of
the fractious archipelago over the past five years. The island is
a popular destination for young surfers, backpackers and other
holiday-makers and the dead hailed from every corner of the
Many of the bodies were so badly charred that identification was
difficult. As of Monday afternoon, only 39 bodies had been
identified, including 10 Australians, nine Indonesians, eight
British, five residents of Singapore, and one each from Germany,
the Netherlands, the United States, Ecuador and New Zealand,
"Many of the bodies were difficult to identify. It's impossible
to identify some because there are only pieces or parts or they
have been badly burned," said Sutesna, a doctor at Bali's Sanglah
Many of the injured were on the critical list and dozens were
still missing. Bodies were still being pulled from the debris
Monday and the final death toll is expected to top 200,
Hundreds of tourists were leaving the island Monday by the first
National police spokesman Inspector Gen. Saleh Saaf said that
police were working on the theory that the bombs were made with
commercial C-4 explosive and were planted in vehicles outside the
nightspots. A similar device exploded outside the Philippine
embassy in Jakarta in 2000, killing two people and seriously
wounding the Filipino envoy, he said.
Saaf said that 27 people had been questioned as witnesses in
connection with the blasts.
The Indonesian news magazine Tempo reported that two key
witnesses -- including the doorman of the Sari club -- were being
held in protective custody.
But Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer raised doubts
about the Indonesian investigation, telling the Australian
Broadcasting Corp. that he was worried the site of the bombing
had not been properly secured to prevent any evidence being
"The site hasn't always been secure since the incident occurred,"
No one claimed responsibility for the blasts. However, the ABC
reported that local police claimed to have identified suspects.
"We have names that would lead in some directions to solve this
case," the broadcaster quoted Bali police spokesman Yatim Suyatmo
"There are names which are linked (to the explosions) who could
give information." He declined to give any names or details.
Australian and other Western officials pointed the finger at the
radical underground Moslem group Jemaah Islamiyah, which seeks an
Islamic state in Southeast Asia.
"Jemaah Islamiyah does have links to al Qaida," Inter Press
Service reported Downer as saying. "It has financial as well as
personnel links to al Qaida, and it is conceivable that an
organization like that could be behind this action," he said.
In Washington, President Bush said the bombing -- and attacks
last week on a French oil tanker and a U.S. Marine exercise in
Kuwait -- was part of a new wave of attacks by resurgent Islamic
"It does look like a pattern of attacks that the enemy, albeit on
the run, is trying to once again frighten and kill freedom-loving
people," he told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House
before flying to a political fundraiser in Michigan.
Terrorism analyst Peter Bergen told United Press International in
Washington that the attacks might indicate a broadening of the
terrorists' strategy -- a target set not limited to U.S.
political and military institutions or symbols.
"It seems they are going after economic targets now, and not just
American ones, but Western ones in general," he said.
In Jakarta, Indonesian authorities beefed up security at foreign
embassies and other possible terrorist targets. The U.S. Embassy
there issued a fresh travel warning and ordered the departure of
all non-essential embassy personnel and relatives of all staff.
In Washington, President Bush said he would speak "soon" to
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to "make it clear to
her that we need to work together to find those who murdered all
those innocent people and bring them to justice."
He spoke earlier Monday with Australian Prime Minister Howard to
The Indonesian government has been under pressure from the United
States -- as well as neighbors Malaysia, Singapore and the
Philippines -- to crack down on Jemaah Islamiyah after it was
linked to plots to bomb Western targets in the region last year.
Dozens of members of the group were arrested in Singapore and
Malaysia after the plots were uncovered, but the Indonesian
government declined to take action against the group's alleged
leader, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who runs a religious school in Solo
in central Java.
The speaker of the Indonesian house of representatives called on
Megawati to draft tough new anti-terror laws, according to Tempo.
In another sign of the kind of pressure Megawati will now find
herself under, Bush added that, in their conversation, "I hope I
hear the resolve of a leader that recognizes that any time
terrorists take hold in the country it's going to weaken the
Ba'asyir himself said he had heard reports he might be arrested.
He accused Americans of being behind the explosions -- but failed
to offer any evidence.
"What happened in Bali, I am sure, it's a fabrication of the
United States, masterminded by the Jews, to find a justification
for the American accusation that Indonesia is a nest of
terrorists," he told radio Australia.
ABC reported that the authorities in New South Wales --
Australia's most populous province and home to it largest city,
Sydney -- put police on high alert and called on the Australian
federal government to provide troops to guard potential terrorist
Prime Minister John Howard told Australia's Channel Ten news that
domestic security arrangements were under review.
In Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported that police were on high
alert and guarding tourist attractions, nightspots and other
potential targets like embassies.
(Shaun Waterman, in Washington, contributed to this report)
Copyright © 2002 United Press International