Terrorist Attack on the Marriot Hotel Complex in Jakarta

August 6th, 2003

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POWERFUL EXPLOSION: A powerful bomb exploded on Tuesday at about 12:30 p.m. just outside the JW Marriott Hotel on Jl. Dr Satrio in the Mega Kuningan business complex in Kuningan, South Jakarta, killing 13 people, and injuring 149 others. JP/Arif Suhardiman

BBC Video Report

There were four blasts: Eyewitness 

An eyewitness described four separate blasts at the JW Marriot Hotel in the Mega Kuningan business complex in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Tuesday.

"I was going to take some pictures after the first blast when suddenly the second blast hit after about 10 minutes. The second was the largest of four," a journalist told The Jakarta Post.

He said the second blast was the one that caused the crater in the hotel's Sailendra Restaurant.

"I saw a hole in the floor of the restaurant going through to the basement.

"I also saw two smaller explosions on the upper floors of the hotel," he said 

As eyewitnesses report four blasts, at least two of which took place on the upper floors of the Marriot Hotel, other media is talking about just one carbomb :

Hotel blast 'caused by suicide bomber' 

JAKARTA (JP): The explosion at the JW Marriot Hotel in the Mega Kuningan business complex in Kuningan, South Jakarta, was a suicide bombing, a senior minister said on Tuesday.

"It is definitely a suicide bombing using a car," saidCoordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the scene of the explosion.

National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said police had found the wreckage of a Kijang minivan believed to have been used in the explosion.

"Our officers found the car's engine and chassis registration numbers, as well as its number plate," he said.

"Based on this information we will start our investigation to find the culprits," he said.

US Embassy cancelled the booking of Marriott Hotel 4.5 hours before the explosion.

There was something interesting happened just hours before the explosion shocked the JW Marriott Hotel, Mega Kuningan, South
Jakarta. The US Embassy cancelled the booking of 10-20 rooms in that hotel. The cancellation was on 8.00 West Indonesian Time, Tuesday, or
only 4.5 hours before the explosion.

This information is from employee of Marriot Hotel who refused to be identified. He explained that the booking was made several days ago.
The US Embassy's guests were planned to stay for 3 days. And the ceremony was planned on Wednesday.

For information, when there was the explosion, the security of US Embassy directly came to the Marriot Hotel in Mega Kuningan. JW
Marriot Hotel is known to be used frequently by US Embassy. On 4 July 2003, the Independent Day of US was celebrated on this hotel. Last
year, it was also celebrated there.


Jakarta police 'knew hotel was a target'

Jakarta police seized documents last month showing terrorists were planning an attack in the area around the Marriott Hotel, where 14 people died yesterday in suicide car bombing.

Investigators were sifting through the wreckage today for clues, and detectives said they planned to release a sketch of one of two men believed to have
bought the mini-van used in the blast.


Hotel staff and guests evacuated BEFORE the blast

The blast at the US-owned JW Marriott Hotel was described as a "huge explosion" and ripped through the 33-storey building, shattering windows several floors above the ground floor and scattering rubble and debris.

Hotel bosses said staff and guests had been evacuated before the blast, which happened during the busy lunch hour.

CNN: Jakarta forensic teams find possible Bali link in Car Bomb ingredients

At least 10 killed in hotel blast in Indonesian capital

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 Posted: 3:55 PM EDT (1955 GMT)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Searching through rubble, forensic experts have found clues that could link Tuesday's bomb blast at a Jakarta, Indonesia, hotel to attacks last year in Bali, CNN has learned.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a powerful car bomb was detonated at lunch hour Tuesday at the five-star JW Marriott Hotel in central Jakarta, authorities said.

Indonesian officials said a Dutch national was among the dead, and U.S. State Department officials said at least two Americans were hurt. An earlier report that an American was killed was inaccurate.

Several Australians and Singaporeans also were wounded in the attack, Indonesian officials said.

Forensics experts said one of the bomb ingredients was potassium chlorate -- the chemical used in October's Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people. Indonesian police have blamed the Bali attacks on the radical Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been linked to al Qaeda.

Last month, a raid on a suspected terrorist bomb-making factory netted a large quantity of potassium chlorate and a suspected member of the group.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack on the Marriott hotel, but suspicion surrounds Jemaah Islamiyah. In the past few weeks, police have said there were warnings that the group might be planning a major attack.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri briefly visited the scene of devastation Tuesday evening, and her government is expected to announce stricter security measures Wednesday.

White House spokesman Scott McLellan said: "This is a deplorable attack on innocent civilians. We are fully prepared to assist in any way possible to bring those responsible to justice."

He added the attack was a reminder that the global war on terrorism is ongoing. "The war continues, and we will not stop until we have disrupted, dismantled and defeated these terrorist organizations," he said.

The blast occurred about 12:30 p.m. local time Tuesday, shattering scores of plate-glass windows in the 33-floor luxury hotel, which is popular with expatriate business executives.

CNN's Atika Shubert, reporting from the scene, said the explosion was powerful, with debris strewn across a wide area in front of the hotel. (On the Scene: Atika Shubert)

Pools of blood and broken glass littered the driveway running past the hotel complex.

One hotel guest, Australian tourist Simon Leuning, had just checked in and was relaxing in his room when the explosion occurred. "The window blew in, blew me across the room," he told Reuters Television. "I got out of there as fast as I could." (Blast scene)

Most of the dead and wounded were in the hotel lobby.

Ties to Bali bombing trial?

Tuesday's attack bears the hallmark of Jemaah Islamiyah, which aims "to inflict mass casualties, as was the case in Bali," said Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert with the Singapore-based Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.

"[Jemaah Islamiyah] is very much intact and operational," Gunaratna said. "This attack could have been timed to coincide with the trial of the Bali bombers."

A verdict is due this week in the case of the so-called "smiling bomber" -- the man accused of planting the bombs in the nightclub attacks on the Indonesian island of Bali. (Bomber awaits fate)

Investigators said Jemaah Islamiyah funded the Bali bombers.

Jemaah Islamiyah's alleged spiritual leader, radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'ashir, is also on trial for a series of bombings in 2000.

Hotel security considered tight

Visitors to the JW Marriott said the hotel had implemented stringent security checks, including metal detectors, and was considered to be one of the most secure hotels in the city.

The hotel, part of the U.S.-owned international chain, is near a number of foreign embassies and headquarters of several major multinational corporations.

It is also a popular venue for functions, and the U.S. ambassador used it to host July Fourth celebrations.

The Marriott opened in September 2001 and is situated to the south of Jakarta's city center in the newly developed Mega Kuningan commercial district.

For those who need information about employees and guests of the Jakarta Marriott, the company offers these numbers: Inside the United States, call (866) 211-4610, and outside the United States, call 011-402-390-3265.


Link: Political backgrounds behind the terrorist attack on the Sari Club on Bali (October 12th, 2002)

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