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Investigation of Bali Blasts Underway; US, Australia Assisting


Indonesian police say they will accept technical assistance from Australia and the United States in the investigation of the bombing in Bali, which has left at least 187 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Indonesian police have begun questioning people who may have information about the deadly bomb that tore through a crowded tourist area in Bali late Saturday.

Police Lt. Colonel Yatim Suyatmo will not say how many people are being questioned, but made clear they are not considered suspects. He said special investigation teams, made up of intelligence officers and investigators, are pursuing the inquiry into who committed the bombing. The colonel said Indonesian police have ultimate authority in the probe, but Australian Federal Police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation will be providing technical advice on analyzing material and evidence gathered at the bomb site.

Colonel Suyatmo would not comment on who the police think may be responsible for the blast. The Indonesian government in Jakarta has also not yet named possible suspects.

The U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Ralph Boyce, said it is possible that Islamic militants from Jemaah Islamiah are responsible. JI, as the group is known, wants to create a pan-Islamic state across Southeast Asia. Washington says the group has links to the al-Qaida terrorist network. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta also announced Monday that it has ordered all non-essential staff and family members out of the country for security reasons.

Meanwhile, at the Sanghla hospital in Bali, dozens of volunteers continue to work around the clock to help treat the scores of people injured in the blast. Briton, Alison Schmidt, is helping coordinate hospital care. Despite donations of medical supplies from Australia, she said the hospital still needs more. "The hospital still needs medical supplies, people still need funding for evacuation. There's a lot of things they don't have. Blood supplies are still coming in. They've got rhesus negative shortage for the Westerners. Most Indonesians are B positive, or positive blood. So there was a lot of blood needed for the Westerners but also there are people donating for the Indonesians as well because there wasn't enough supply," she said.

Many of the dead and injured are Australian tourists. Australia has been operating a massive evacuation operation for its citizens. Volunteers here say some of the more seriously injured Indonesians are being sent to Singapore.

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