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Indonesia Promises to Raise Security Standards Following Hotel Bombing


The Indonesian government has promised to raise security standards to combat terrorism, the day after a car bomb at a Jakarta hotel killed at least 10 people and injured more than 100. Police have not said who they think is responsible for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) - a local terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda.

Indonesia's top security minister says it wants the Indonesian public to help in the effort to combat terrorism.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Wednesday the government wants to impose higher security requirements on office buildings and public spaces. "Firstly, the intensification of the local security in public buildings, government offices and all public facilities here in Indonesia," he says. "We have to set up minimum standards to be fulfilled by the leaderships of the companies and we will check as soon as possible if they meet the standards or not."

He also says the government will work to improve its intelligence agencies and security at immigration points to detect possible terrorist cells.

The car bomb badly damaged the lower floors of the high-rise J.W. Marriott hotel in central Jakarta Tuesday, blasting out windows, and setting fires. It was the worst terrorist attack in Indonesia since last October's bombing on the island of Bali, in which 202 people died.

Police say the Bali attack was the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terrorist group with links to the al-Qaeda network. Authorities say there are similarities between the Bali bomb and the hotel bomb - but they have not yet blamed JI for the recent attack. At the site of the blast Wednesday, Indonesian investigators assisted by Australian Federal Police sorted through the debris.

Indonesian National Police Chief Da'i Bachtiar says whoever set off the car bomb at the Marriott tried to conceal the serial number on the car's engine block - a technique the Bali bombers used. In both cases, however, the bombers failed - and police have already spoken to a previous owner of the car used in the Marriot bombing.

Other police officials say they recovered documents from suspected JI members last month that listed several possible bombing targets. The Marriott was on the list, and police say they had increased patrols around the hotel before the attack.

Suspicion has also fallen on JI because of the timing of the blast. It came two days before the first verdict is to be handed down in the trial of a Bali bomber - Amrozi bin Nurhaysim. Mr. Amrozi faces the death penalty if convicted. He is one of four alleged bombers now on trial.

Several suspects in the Bali case have said they intended to kill foreigners. The Marriott is popular with foreign business people and tourists.

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