Jakarta hotel blasts killed 9, wound 50
JAKARTA, Indonesia – A senior lawmaker says there are "indications" suicide attackers carried out the twin bombings on hotels in downtown Jakarta that killed nine and wounded 50. Theo Sambuaga, chairman of the parliamentary security commission, said "there are indications of suicide bombs" at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Friday morning. "That is being investigated." The Indonesian security minister and police have said a New Zealander was among those killed. Thirteen other foreigners were among the wounded, including nationals from the United States, Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea. (Pix AP - Smoke from J.W. Marriott hotel after an explosion went off in Jakarta)
It has been nearly four years since a major terrorist attack in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. (THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.):
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Bombs minutes apart ripped through two luxury hotels in Jakarta Friday, killing nine and wounding at least 50 more, ending a four-year lull in terror attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation. At least 14 foreigners were among the dead and wounded.
The blasts at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, located side-by-side in an upscale business district in the capital, blew out windows and scattered debris and glass across the street, kicking up a thick plume of smoke. Facades of both hotels were reduced to twisted metal.
Alex Asmasubrata, who was jogging nearby, said he walked into the Marriott before emergency services arrived and "there were bodies on the ground, one of them had no stomach," he said. "It was terrible."
The Marriott, which was attacked in 2003 in a bombing blamed on Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, was hit first, followed by the blast at the Ritz two minutes later. The attacks came just two weeks after presidential vote expected to re-elect incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who has been credited with stabilizing a nation previously wracked by militancy. Local media reported that two people were killed in another explosion in a car north Jakarta later Friday. Officials confirmed a blast but said it did not appear to be related. Security Minister Widodo Adi Sucipto told reporters at the scene the hotel blasts happened at 7:45 a.m. and 7:47 a.m. (0045 GMT, 8:45 p.m. EDT) and that "high explosives were used." He said at least nine people were killed and 50 wounded.
Anti-terror forces were rushed to the scene, and authorities blocked access to the hotels in a district also home to foreign embassies. "This destroys our conducive situation," Sucipto said, referring to the nearly four years since a major terrorist attack in Indonesia — a triple suicide bombing at restaurants at the resort island of Bali that killed 20 people. The security minister and police said a New Zealander was among those killed, and that thirteen other foreigners were among the wounded, including nationals from Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and the U.S.
Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta and Tanalee Smith in Adelaide