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President Bush Condemns Bali Bombing as 'Heinous Act' - 2002-10-13


President Bush is condemning the car bombing that claimed more than 180 lives on the Indonesian island of Bali. Mr. Bush calls it an "heinous act" of terrorism.

President Bush said hundreds of innocent people were killed and injured in a cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos.

In a written statement, Mr. Bush offers condolences to the families of the victims, and America's sympathies to the people of Indonesia.

The president also vows to continue the war on terrorism. He says the world must confront what he calls "this global menace." And he stresses the United States is willing to help the Indonesian government find those responsible and bring them to justice.

The massive car bomb explosion occurred late Saturday in a popular tourist area, destroying a crowded night club and damaging surrounding buildings.

But there have been concerns about Islamic extremists elsewhere in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. And the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri has come under pressure to crack down on groups with possible terrorist links.

During an interview on American television, a prominent U.S. senator said he thinks the Bali car bombing marks the beginning of a new round of terrorist violence.

Alabama's Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on ABC'S This Week program, shortly after U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials briefed his staff on the Bali bombing.

"I believe, myself, after the briefing that this is a definite terrorist link here. We don't know all the facts. Is it directly al-Qaida, or is it an affiliated group? But, I believe that this is the beginning of a lot more that we are going to see, perhaps in the U.S., although we hope not," Mr. Shelby said.

Mr. Shelby would not elaborate. When asked if the White House should put the nation on a higher state of alert, he said he would leave that decision in the hands of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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