Friday, July 17, 2009

Terrorist bombs claim 9 lives in Jakarta: Update 1

Suicide bombers who checked in as guests smuggled explosives into American luxury hotels in Indonesia's capital and set off a pair of heavy blasts Friday that killed eight people and wounded more than 50, investigators said. At least 18 foreigners were among the dead and wounded.

The blasts at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, located side-by-side in an upscale business district in Jakarta, blew out windows and scattered debris and glass across the street, kicking up a thick plume of smoke. Facades of both hotels were reduced to twisted metal.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw bodies being shuttled away in police trucks. Alex Asmasubrata, who was jogging nearby, said he walked into the Marriott before emergency services arrived and "there were bodies on the ground, one of them had no stomach," he said. "It was terrible."

A visibly upset President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, re-elected this month on the back of improved security and a healthier economy, said the bombings were the act of a terrorist group bent on damaging the country.

"I am sure most of us are deeply concerned, feel very sorry and are crying silently, like the way I am feeling," he told a news conference, adding the perpetrators were "laughing and cheering with anger and hatred."


  • Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for these bomb attacks, it is highly likely that it is Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a US State Department designated terrorist organization, or a splinter/support group allied to them.
  • Jemaah Islamiyah is closely linked to Al-Qaeda (AQ). It is possible that AQ may have provided JI with monetary, material or technical assistance for this attack.
  • It has been 4 years since a terrorist act has taken place within Indonesia and these blasts may signal a return to activity for Jemaah Islamiyah and other Islamist organizations. This will make Indonesia an unsafe place to visit, unless absolutely necessary, for some time.
  • The Marriott and Ritz Carlton in Jakarta were considered very secure for foreign visitors, but this concept has been proven a false hope. This turnaround has been accomplished through a new tactic employed by the perpetrators: checking into one of the hotels as guests for an extended period and using the hotel room to assemble the bombs.
  • The blasts were both targeted and indiscriminate. Being American, the hotels would have been targeted for their ties to "The Great Satan". Largely foreign clientele would have also been targets, however, there was no way of ensuring that innocent Indonesian lives would have not been in danger.
  • "Bombs rip through Indonesia hotels, killing eight,"Reuters, 7/17/09.
  • "Sanctuaries no longer Impregnable," Sydney Morning Herald, 7/17/09.
  • "Indonesia: The Broader Ramifications of the Hotel Attacks", Stratfor, 7/17/09.
  • "Indonesia: A Closer Look at Jemaah Islamiyah," Stratfor, 7/17/09.
  • "Jemaah Islamiyah", Council for Foreign Relations, 6/14/09.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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