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13 Die in Apparent Car Bomb Attack on Jakarta Hotel


At least 13 people are dead and over 100 are injured after a suspected car bomb exploded outside a high-rise hotel in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The explosion comes just as judges prepare the verdict in the trial of a suspect in last year's Bali terrorism bombing.

Dozens of emergency vehicles raced to the J.W. Marriott hotel in central Jakarta early Tuesday afternoon, after a bomb gutted the hotel's lobby, blowing out walls and shattering windows as high as 20 stories.

Four taxis in front of the hotel were destroyed. The body of one of victim lay next to a taxi. Nearby buildings were also damaged.

Authorities say the blast was likely caused by a car bomb. The governor of Indonesia's capital Jakarta says it may have been the work of a suicide bomber. Police have not determined who is responsible for the bomb.

Australian Simon Leunig was in his room at the hotel when the bomb went off. "I got dressed because I just got out of the shower, and put some sturdy shoes on, got my passport and my phone and my wallet and headed down," he said. "Obviously, I thought it was a bomb."

Another hotel guest, New Zealander Anne Marie Mulder thought much the same. "It sounded like a bomb," she said, as she recalled her thoughts. "And what do I do and how do we get out and where is everybody? That's what everybody thought, and are they all right?"

A manager for the hotel says no guests were killed in the blast. The blast comes two days before the first verdict is to be issued in the trial of a Bali bombing suspect. Two hundred two people, most of them foreigners, died in the October terror attack in a popular tourist district. There are four trials under way in the case. The Bali attack is thought to be the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional Islamic terror group. On Tuesday, there was another hearing in the trial of Abu Bakar Bashir, who authorities say is the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah.

Since the Bali attack, many Western governments have warned citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Indonesia, fearing new attacks. Jakarta has seen dozens of smaller bombings in recent years, and there are a number of ethnic and separatist conflicts going on in different parts of the country.

Several of the suspects in the Bali case have said they intended to kill foreigners. The Marriott hotel, located in a key business district, is popular among tourists and foreign business people.

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