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Indonesian Police Say Jakarta Bombings Are Work of Jemaah Islamiyah


Indonesian Police say the bombings of two hotels in Jakarta on Friday was the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, a terrorist group with al-Qaida ties. Analysts say it is likely that Noordin Top, a Malaysian fugitive who leads an affiliated group within a Southeast Asian militant network, planned and organized the attacks. The two blasts killed nine people, including the two suspected attackers, and wounded 50, many of them foreigners.

Indonesian national police spokesman Nanan Soekarna says the bombing attacks on the Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Jakarta on Friday were the work of Jemaah Islamiyah. The group with ties to Al-Qaida, has carried out dozens of bombings in Indonesia in the past decade, including a 2002 attack in Bali that left more than 200 people dead, mostly foreign tourists.

He told reporters Sunday an unexploded bomb left in a guest room of the Marriott hotel, which was attacked along with the nearby Ritz-Carlton, resembled explosives used in Bali and one discovered in a recent raid on an Islamic boarding school.

Sidney Jones, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, says Noordin Top, a Malaysian who leads the most militant faction of Jemaah Islamiyah, is the likely organizer of the attacks.

"Noordin is the only person of the various leaders of radical groups in Indonesia who is continued to be determined to attack western targets and particularly American targets," said Jones.

Jones says Noordin has used suicide bombers in the past like the ones used in Friday's attacks. And she says before the bombing police had some intelligence indicating Noordin may have been planning something.

"It was clear in the last two weeks that something was afoot. And the police were very actively searching this area in South Central Java called Cilacap because they believe some of Noordin's associates were active there," said Jones. "And we now know there is linkage between explosive materials used in these hotel bombings with some of the materials found in Cilacap by police."

But Jones says Noordin Top may have split from the main Jemaah Islamiyah organization, or JI, which had recently turned away from violence because it was turning public opinion against them.

"The bulk of JI members are not interested in violence now because they regard this kind of bombing as counter-productive," added Jones. "They need to rebuild their organization and they do that by recruiting new members through religious outreach. This kind of bombing does not bring you any new members, it creates outrage in the community."

Jones says bombing the Marriott Hotel, which was also attacked in 2003, was probably meant to demonstrate that their group is still active and able penetrate the increased security.


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