Police release sketch of hotel bombing suspect

 

INDONESIA: Indonesian police yesterday published a sketch of a suspect in the bombing of a US-run luxury hotel in Jakarta, and said the device resembled those used in attacks blamed on the shadowy Jemaah Islamiah group.

Tuesday's suicide car-bomb attack - two days before the first Bali bomb-trial verdict, and after a spate of global terror warnings - killed 10 people and wounded 150 at Jakarta's five-star Marriott Hotel. Police revised the death toll down from 16.

The Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant Muslim organisation, widely blamed for the Bali attack and linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, had claimed responsibility for the latest blast, Singapore's Straits Times reported.

Australian Foreign Minister Mr Alexander Downer said he was worried about more violence within days in Indonesia.

"I think the world should know that what we are facing is an international terrorist organisation, it is not a domestic terrorist cell," Chief Security Minister Mr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.

Mr Erwin Mappaseng, head of the criminal investigation department, released composite sketches of the man who bought the car into which a deadly cocktail of black powder, TNT and petrol was packed. A police caption on one sketch described the man as a suspected bomber.

"On the detonation method, it was known that the bomb was triggered by a mobile phone," he told an evening news conference. "We have not determined whether JI was involved."

The methods, the materials and the detonations all resembled the bombs that destroyed Bali nightclubs, and a bomb in Jakarta aimed at the Philippine ambassador in August 2000, he said.

The Bali bombs were composed mainly of TNT and potassium chlorate - a fertiliser compound. Those blasts, the largest of which was a massive car-bomb, killed 202 people last October, many of them Australian revellers.

Jakarta holds JI responsible for the Bali bombings.

Indonesian and Australian forensic officers picked through debris in the charred Marriott Hotel lobby. A severed head was recovered and the blast was believed to have been triggered by a suicide-bomber.

National police chief Mr Da'i Bachtiar told reporters that the head could be that of the suicide-bomber.

Security had already been boosted in central Jakarta after police found the Marriott Hotel area on a list of potential targets last month when they arrested nine members of JI and found a huge cache of weapons and explosives on Java island, officials said.

More terrorist attacks are feared in the lead-up to Indonesia's national day on August 17th, particularly in the central Jakarta area.