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US Condemns Car Bomb Attack in Jakarta - 2004-09-09

The United States has condemned Thursday's car-bomb attack outside the Australian embassy in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and said it stands ready to assist both governments in any way it can.

A statement by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan condemned the Jakarta bombing as an "outrageous act" and another attack against civilized people everywhere.

He said President Bush conveys his deepest sympathy on behalf of the American people to families of the victims of the bombing, which killed or wounded nearly 200 people.

He said Mr. Bush reaffirms U.S. solidarity with both the Indonesian and Australian governments in fighting the global war on terrorism.

There were similar comments from the State Department, which called the attack a "horrible crime" and said the United States stands ready to assist the two governments in any way it can.

State Department spokesman Steven Pike noted that the attack came in advance of elections in both countries, and nearly two years after nightclub bombings in the Indonesian resort of Bali that also inflicted "a terrible tragedy" on innocent Indonesians and Australians.

"Since that time, the governments of these two nations have taken, together and separately, a courageous, principled and steadfast approach to combating the scourge of terrorism. We salute what they have done, and what they no doubt will do, to bring the perpetrators of this latest horrific act to justice," he said.

Indonesia will hold a presidential run-off election September 20 and Australia is due to hold general elections October 9, though Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Thursday there is no information to indicate the bomb attack is linked to the voting in either country.

Earlier this week, the State Department issued a travel warning which said the radical Southeast Asian Muslim group Jemaah Islamiya and other terrorist organizations might use the Indonesian elections "as opportune occasions" to conduct attacks.

The advisory recommended that U.S. citizens defer non-essential travel to Indonesia and said those already in the country should keep a low profile.