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Americans Were Intended Target in Bali Bombing, Says Suspect - 2003-02-11

A key suspect has admitted taking part in the terrorist bombing on Indonesia's island of Bali and says the attack was intended to kill Americans. Ali Imron also says the bombers were not helped by any outside organization.

Before a crowded room in a Bali police station, suspect Ali Imron explained how the Bali bombing was carried out. First, he says, the bomb could be detonated by remote control, secondly, with a timer set for 45 minutes, and third, with a key, which would set off the bomb immediately if it were pulled. The reconstruction of the bombing was part of a press conference Mr. Imron gave Tuesday.

More than 190 people died and dozens more were injured when two bombs were detonated on a street lined with restaurants and bars in Bali's busiest tourist district. The first blast was intended to attract attention, while the second blast, a car-bomb, was designed to do the most damage.

Most of the dead were foreign tourists, and a large number of them were Australian.

Mr. Imron said the bomb's target was the United States, which he called an "international terrorist." But he apologized to the families of the victims, and asked them for forgiveness.

A former teacher, Mr. Imron is one of 30 people arrested for involvement in the bombing. He is the brother of two other suspects - Amrozi, the man who owned the van used in the bombing, and Ali Ghufron, one of the key planners.

The blast raised concerns that Indonesia had been infiltrated by international terrorist groups. Investigators have linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian group believed to have ties to the al-Qaeda network, to the Bali attack. JI wants to form an Islamic state across Southeast Asia. Many of the suspects in the attack are affiliated with a Muslim cleric thought to be JI's spiritual leader.

Mr. Imron said Tuesday that the men who carried out the Bali bombing had no outside support or sponsorship.