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9 die in Jakarta hotel blasts

world Updated: Jul 18, 2009 01:37 IST
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Nearly simultaneous explosions hit two neighbouring American hotels in central Jakarta on Friday morning, killing at least nine people and 40 others, according to security officials.

The explosions shortly before 8 am damaged the JW Marriott Hotel and Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

“Based on the evidence at the scene, we found that there were two suicide bombers,” national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri told reporters.

“ Suspected suicide bombers disguised themselves as guests of the JW Marriott hotel before carrying out the coordinated attacks,” Jakarta police chief Wahyono told reporters.

That blast has been widely linked to the radical terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional jihadi network with ties to Al Qaeda.

The suicide bomber, a member of the group, was identified after the blast when his severed head was found on the sixth floor of the hotel.

The blasts shattered windows just above the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton, and thick plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the site.

Police are studying DNA evidence and an unexploded bomb found in a hotel room control centre used by perpetrators.

At least 13 of the injured were foreigners, according to the Indonesian minister for security affairs, Widodo Adi Sucipto, and they included citizens of Australia, South Korea, India and Norway.

Widodo said foreign nationals also were among the fatalities, including a New Zealander, Timothy D. Mackay, the CEO of Holcim Indonesia, the country’s third-largest cement company.

Man United cancel trip

The British soccer team Manchester United was due to arrive in Jakarta on Saturday, and at least some of the players had been booked into the Ritz-Carlton.

The team was scheduled play a match against a team of Indonesian all-stars on Monday, but the club announced on Friday that it was cancelling the Indonesian leg of its eight-day tour of Asia.