Three Dutch injured in Jakarta hotels bombings

17th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Three Dutch nationals were among those injured when bombs exploded in two luxury hotels in Jakarta, killing at least nine people.

Jakarta – High-explosive bombs tore through two luxury hotels in Jakarta on Friday, killing at least nine people including foreigners as terrorism returned to the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Officials said 40 other people were injured when two breakfast-time blasts shook the Indonesian capital's Ritz-Carlton hotel and the nearby JW Marriott, in the country's bloodiest attacks since 2005.

Three Dutch citizens were among those injured.

"I can confirm that three Dutch citizens were injured, two of them seriously," the foreign ministry said in The Hague.

 Further information on the Dutch nationals injured was not immediately available.

"I heard two sounds like 'boom, boom' coming from the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton. Then I saw people running out," security guard Eko Susanto told AFP, after the blasts erupted in a deadly hail of flying glass.

The Marriott was hit in 2003 by blasts that killed 12 people, and Friday's carnage bore the hallmark of attacks blamed on the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militant group both in Jakarta and the tourism hotspot of Bali.

"These were high-explosive bombs," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto told reporters at the scene.

He added: "These incidents have torn the secure atmosphere in the country."

The multi-millionaire stars of English football club Manchester United were due to stay at the Ritz-Carlton next week as part of an Asian tour but have since cancelled their trip.

Blood was spattered on the street outside the Marriott, and hundreds of police had sealed off the area in central Jakarta's upscale Mega Kuningan business district, an AFP correspondent said.

"I don't remember exactly but suddenly the ceiling is falling down and the sound was big," Cho In Sang, a 50-year-old South Korean who was staying at the Ritz-Carlton, told AFP at the Metropolitan Medical Centre hospital.

Cho, who was lying on a hospital bed with cuts and scratches on his arms and legs, said hotel staff had bundled him into a car and driven him to the hospital.

Despite security measures in place at Jakarta's top hotels, including vehicle searches and metal detectors, police said one blast hit the basement of the Marriott and a second struck the restaurant of the Ritz-Carlton.

An unexploded bomb was later found and defused by police in a room of the Marriott, presidential advisor Djali Yusuf said.

National police spokesman Nanan Soekarna confirmed at least nine people were killed and 41 were injured, including 14 foreigners, when the blasts struck around 8:00 am (0100 GMT).

A New Zealand man who was apparently at the Marriott for a business meeting was among the dead, Prime Minister John Key said.

Extending his "deepest sympathy" to the man's family, the New Zealand leader said: "Everything I have seen suggests that this is a deliberate attack designed to kill and wound innocent people."

Australia's foreign affairs department said at least two Australians had been injured in the attacks, which the country's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd condemned as "barbaric."

"Any terrorist attack is an act of cowardice. It is an act of murder," Rudd told reporters. "It is a barbaric act that violates the fundamental principles of human decency."

AFP / Expatica

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