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Suspect caught on video before explosion

By wire services
Published October 3, 2005


KUTA, Indonesia - Police released grisly photos Sunday of the heads of three men suspected of carrying out Saturday's suicide bomb attacks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, as well as an eerie video of a suspected bomber walking into a steakhouse wearing what appears to be a backpack.

"We have reached a conclusion that they were suicide bombings," said Bali Police Chief I Made Mangku Pastika.

Police raised the alert level for Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, and the president warned of more attacks Sunday. The near-simultaneous bombings on Bali killed as many as 26 people and injured 101, including six Americans.

There were no claims of responsibility for the coordinated attacks on two packed seafood cafes in the Jimbaran beach resort and the Raja Cafe noodle and steakhouse in the tourist center of Kuta.

Suspicion for the blasts fell on the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia and has been linked to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

The attacks apparently were planned by Southeast Asia's two most-wanted men, who are believed to be connected to the al-Qaida-linked group, said Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian antiterror official.

The alleged masterminds were believed to be Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top, both Malaysians who fled to Indonesia after a crackdown on militants following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said. They were not among the suspected bombers.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, and subsequent attacks on the J.W. Marriott hotel and the Australian Embassy that killed 22. Saturday's blasts occurred nearly three years to the day of the 2002 bombings, which also were in Kuta.

Western and Indonesian intelligence agencies have warned repeatedly that Jemaah Islamiyah was plotting more attacks despite a string of arrests.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono briefly toured the bomb sites and said Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, needs to find a way to protect "soft" targets such as restaurants and nightclubs from extremists who are willing to sacrifice their own lives.

The death toll from the blasts remained uncertain Sunday. Officials at Sanglah Hospital, where most victims were taken, said 23 people were killed in the blasts along with the three suspected bombers.

But the police chief said there had been some double-counting at the hospital and that only 19 had died, in addition to the three suspected killers.

The dead included 12 Indonesians, an Australian and a Japanese man. Officials were trying to identify the nationalities of the other corpses in the morgue, a hospital statement said.

The 101 wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Americans, six Koreans and four Japanese, officials said.

Video footage shot by a vacationer at the three-story Raja Cafe in Kuta captured a suspected bomber in a black T-shirt walking past foreign and local tourists seated at candle-lit tables.

The man clutches his backpack, adjusts it slightly, then walks out of view. Moments later there is an explosion from his direction, followed by gray smoke and terrified screams.

Pastika would not reveal the identity of the person who made the video but said he was a customer who happened to be filming in the restaurant. He was injured in the explosion, but came forward Sunday morning to offer the video to police, Pastika said.

In the photographs that Pastika released of the suspected bombers, the facial features of all three men are recognizable and police hope release of the photos will lead to their identification.

Saturday's attacks threaten to ruin a tourist boom on the mostly Hindu island, where hotels and restaurants have in the past 18 months reported that business topped pre-2002 levels, and they were looking forward to a busy Christmas and New Year's season. Some say it may take even longer to recover a second time around.

Veli-Matti Enqvist, 51, was one of hundreds of tourists waiting for flights at the airport.

"We were up all night trying to change our ticket," said Enqvist, who had been scheduled to leave Bali with his wife on Wednesday. "We finally found something. ... We're going."

--Information from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

[Last modified October 3, 2005, 01:16:11]


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