Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indonesian Officials Strain to Identify Bombers

Related articles



JAKARTA, Indonesia —Indonesian officials struggled Sunday to identify the two suicide bombers behind the deadly attacks Friday at two American hotels here, even as they said more clearly that the two men appeared to have had ties to a Malaysian Islamic extremist.

The authorities said they were trying to reconstruct the face of one of the two bombers — both were decapitated in the blasts — to see whether they were extremists known to have ties to Noordin Muhammad Top, a Malaysian Islamic extremist who has long been the most wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia.

The two bombers are believed to have stayed two nights as guests inside Room 1808 at the JW Marriott Hotel, where they assembled the bombs before setting of nearly simultaneous explosions at the Marriott and at the Ritz- Carlton Hotel across the street.

“We are trying to reconstruct the face of one of the heads we found to see if it matches the guest from 1808. We will ask witnesses and receptionists, is it him?” Nanan Soekarna, a spokesman for the national police, said at a news conference.

Though the authorities had yet to determine the bombers’ identities, they said that their methods and weapons strongly indicated ties to Mr. Noordin.

Indonesian officials said initially that the bombs used at the two hotels were high explosives, with elements usually found in military-grade bombs.

But they said over the weekend that the bombs — homemade and filled with nails — were similar to ones used by Mr. Noordin and his allies in previous attacks.

A onetime leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terrorist network with links to Al Qaeda, Mr. Noordin is now believed to lead a splinter group. Mr. Noordin is suspected of being the mastermind behind the bombing at a nightclub in Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, among other attacks.

Mr. Noordin has evaded several arrests this decade.

Many small extremist groups, some with ties to Mr. Noordin, are believed to be active, even as the Indonesian government has succeeded in severely weakening Jemaah Islamiyah in recent years.

An unexploded bomb that the police found in the Marriott room was identical to a bomb discovered during a recent arrest of extremists at an Islamic boarding school in Cilacap, in Central Java, officials said. The daughter of the school’s headmaster is believed to be Mr. Noordin’s wife, and Mr. Noordin himself may have been in Cilacap recently, officials said.

“The method, the equipment used is the same as both bombs in Bali and the one found in Cilacap,” said Mr. Soekarna, the police spokesman.

The death toll from the blasts rose to nine from eight over the weekend, the police said. Because of the difficulty of identifying the victims from the blasts, the authorities had yet to determine the identities of four of the dead and said that more bodies could be discovered at the sites.

The authorities have also given sometimes conflicting information about the nationalities of the dead. On Sunday, officials said that the five identified victims included an Indonesian, a New Zealander and three Australians.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Cah Kampung

ShoutMix chat widget
 

Template by marz