July 16, 2009

Jakarta Hotels Rocked by Explosions

At least eight people were killed on Friday in two separate explosions at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in central Jakarta, just over a week after the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation completed a peaceful presidential election. The first explosion was heard at the Marriott around 0745am local time. The hotel was targeted in 2003 by the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, when a bomb set off by the Islamic terrorists killed 11.

The second explosion happened shortly afterwards at the Ritz-Carlton, less than 100m away. The explosion was believed to have gone off in the Airlangga restaurant. Indonesia’s Metro TV reported that eight people died from the blasts — six at the Marriott and two at Ritz-Carlton, and there were reports of a number of foreigners either among those killed or badly injured. The Jakarta police could not confirm if the blasts were caused by bombs.

One witness, Alex Asmasubrata, said he saw one westerner, who was not moving, being carried outside the Marriott, and three others who were badly injured. He said that the inside of the hotel was still smoky and there were four other westerners being taken out from the back who were “barely moving”. A hotel guest, Don Hanna of US-based Fortress Investment Group, said he felt the building sway at the time of the explosion.

“As I came out of the elevator in the lobby, there were drops of blood on the floor. Some staff appeared injured, they had blood on the shirts. People were nervous but I saw no panic,” he said. While the police were still investigating the cause of the explosions, there were fear on Friday that areas popular with foreigners had once again become targets for terrorists.

The country witnessed three major terrorist attacks in 2002-2005 — the October 2002 Bali bombings; the August 2003 bombing of the Marriott in Jakarta and the September 2004 bombing outside the Australian embassy. Indonesian stocks opened more than 2 per cent lower but recovered to less than 1 per cent down by 0300 GMT.

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Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/76c46078-7276-11de-ba94-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

Tags: Jakarta hotels, explosions, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Don Hanna of US-based Fortress Investment Group, Terrorist attack, global development news, global blog network, blogspot, Airlangga restaurant, Alex Asmasubrata, al-Qaeda-linked, Jemaah Islamiyah,

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