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Indonesian Bombing Blamed on Terrorism; At Least 180 Dead


A massive bomb has killed at least 180 people in a night club packed with foreign tourists on the Indonesian island of Bali. Officials from Indonesia and Australia say the bomb has all the markings of a terrorist attack.

Little remains of the Sari Night Club, which was packed with tourists when the bomb hit late Saturday. Dozens of nearby buildings in the resort town of Kuta were also destroyed, in what Indonesian authorities say is the worst act of terror in the country's history.

At hospitals around Bali, doctors say the majority of the dead and injured are Australian, British and other Western tourists.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer noted that the club bombing occurred at nearly the same time as a blast near the U.S. Consulate building in Bali and a third explosion near the Philippine Consulate on the island of Sulawesi. Those attacks did no damage. "There were three bomb explosions, all of which went off in Indonesia at approximately the same time," he said. "So it does look as though, on the face of it, that this was a coordinated terrorist attack."

Australia is sending medical experts to help treat the hundreds of wounded, and Australian airline, Qantas, has added flights to evacuate tourists from the island.

Bali, a popular holiday destination, especially for Australians and residents of Asia, has long been considered one of the safest places in Indonesia. It has escaped the ethnic and political violence that has wracked many parts of Indonesia over the past few years.

The bomb attacks come just a few days after the U.S. State Department issued a warning that Americans around the world could be targets of new terror attacks by the al-Qaida network run by Osama bin Laden. Also, there have been news reports that the United States thinks a grenade that exploded in Jakarta a few weeks ago may have been intended for a U.S. government facility. Neither the Australian nor the Indonesian governments have said who might be responsible for the blast. A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta says the United States is cooperating in the investigation and says no terror groups have been linked to the attack so far.

There are several militant and separatist groups in Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, some of which have been linked to al-Qaida.

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