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Explosives Cause Blast at Indonesian National Police HQ - 2003-02-03

Police in Indonesia say a blast at their national headquarters early Monday was caused by explosives, but no injuries were reported. Authorities have no suspects yet, but the attack comes after the national police chief fingered a high-profile terrorist group in the October's Bali bombing.

Police say they suspect a black bag filled with "low explosives" was placed in front of the lobby of a community hall within their headquarters compound. The blast blew out some windows and damaged part of the side of the building. No injuries were reported.

Police have sealed off the area while investigators examine and collect pieces of debris.

Police Brigadier General Edward Aritonang said authorities do not yet know the motivation for the attack. The general said the building is open to the public on weekends, and it is often a venue for weddings. General Aritonang said it is too early to tell whether the bombing was linked to any of the high profile cases police are now investigating.

But the explosion comes after Indonesia's National Police chief General Da'i Bachtiar directly implicated the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group and its alleged spiritual leader, Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, in the October bombing on the island of Bali - which killed more than 190 people.

General Bachtiar said Mr. Bashir gave his blessing to JI operations, which are aimed at creating an Islamic super-state in Southeast Asia.

The cleric is currently in custody, having been accused in a series of church bombings in December of 2000 and has been implicated in an assassination plot against President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Police are reviewing evidence in the Bali investigation to determine if Mr. Bashir will be charged in that case. The cleric has consistently denied any involvement in the Bali case or any terrorist activities.