Jakarta: the hunt begins
Sunday Jul 19, 2009
Investigators began the task of identifying two suicide bombers who attacked American luxury hotels in Indonesia's capital.
Two bombs killed eight people, including expat New Zealand businessman Tim Mackay.
The bombers, posing as guests, attacked the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, setting off a pair of blasts on Friday that killed four locals and four foreigners and wounded more than 50, authorities said.
The Indonesian Health Ministry's crisis centre has identified five of the dead, who include an Australian and a Singaporean.
Mackay, 61, who worked for cement products manufacturer PT Holcim Indonesia, had been at a business meeting at the Marriott.
Family members of Australian victim Nathan Verity were expected to take his body home to Perth over the weekend to be buried.
Officials said 17 foreigners were among the wounded, including eight Americans and citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Britain
None of the Americans suffered life-threatening injuries, US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.
Two of those wounded at the Ritz-Carlton were employees of a Phoenix-based company, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith arrived in Jakarta yesterday for a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, while Britain's Manchester United football team cancelled a scheduled visit to the country. The team had been booked into the Ritz-Carlton for the weekend.
The bombings, which came two minutes apart, ended a four-year lull in terror attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
The blasts at the high-rise 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.
The attackers evaded hotel security, smuggling explosives into the Marriott and assembling the bombs in a room on the 18th floor, where an undetonated device was found after the explosions. The bombers had stayed at the hotel for two days and set off the blasts in restaurants at both hotels.
Security video footage captured the moment of the explosion in the Marriott. The brief, grainy images show a man wearing a cap and pulling a bag on wheels walking across the lobby toward the restaurant, followed by a flash and smoke filling the air.
The attack occurred as the Marriott was hosting a regular meeting of top foreign executives at major companies in Indonesia organised by the consultancy firm CastleAsia, which is headed by an American.
An Australian think-tank, the Strategic Policy Institute, had warned that the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah might launch new attacks just a day before Friday's deadly strike.