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Australian Analysts Blame Jakarta Bombings on Splinter Group


Security analysts in Australia say disaffected young members of militant group Jemaah Islamiyah may be behind deadly blasts in Indonesia. Bombs have exploded at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, killing at least nine people and more than 50.

Australian security experts suspect that a small splinter group made up of dissident Jemaah Islamiyah members may be behind the Jakarta explosions Friday.

Analysts say that young members of the radical Islamic organization strongly disagree with its leadership, who no longer favor using bombs to further their cause.

Jemaah Islamiyah was responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. Its members also were linked to several other bombings, including one at the Australian embassy that killed 11 Indonesians.

Since 2002, Australia has worked closely with Indonesia to combat the activities of extremists. The view in Canberra is that peace in Indonesia is vital for the region's security.

The attacks on the hotels in Jakarta will arouse familiar feelings of dread among expatriate foreigners in Indonesia, as well as tourists, who have been returning to Indonesia in larger numbers since the Bali atrocity seven years ago.

Carl Ungerer from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says a new phase of terror may just be starting in Indonesia.

"Many of the younger JI members have not been reformed," he said. "They do not accept either the rehabilitation program that has been offered to them in the prison system or the kind of traditionalist view amongst JI that there should be a cessation of the bombing campaign. They do not accept this. They are gravitating towards these more hardline elements. They are more interested in continuing the armed struggle."

A spokesman says the Australian government unreservedly condemns the attacks.

Canberra has reiterated its advice to its citizens to reconsider traveling to Indonesia, including Bali, due to the "very high threat of terrorist attack".

It is believed Australians are among the injured, and a New Zealand man has been killed.

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