The blast came two days before a verdict in the trial of a key
suspect in the Bali nightclub bombings last Oct. 12 that killed 202
people, many of them foreigners. A Dutch banker was among the dead
Tuesday, and at least 10 foreigners, including two Americans, were
The attack occurred on the first day of testimony in another
bombing case by the alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, which has
been blamed for the Bali bombings. Authorities have linked the group
to al-Qaida and say it hopes to create an Islamic state across
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the Marriott
The governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, said the attack was "very
likely" carried out by a suicide bomber. The national police chief,
Gen. Da'i Bachtiar, said the van carrying the bomb was moving at the
time of the explosion.
World leaders expressed horror and outrage. The White House
called it a "deplorable attack on innocent civilians" and declared
its support for the Indonesian government's fight against terrorism.
The Marriott a frequent site for U.S. Embassy functions and a
popular destination for foreigners was shattered just after noon
when the bomb exploded on the driveway leading to its front
The blast smashed many windows in the 33-story hotel and smoke
from burning cars blackened the outside of lower floors. The lobby
ceiling caved in on charred sofas and overturned tables.
"Women ran out of the hotel screaming, 'Help! Help!'" said
Supria, a construction worker. He said rescuers used fire
extinguishers to douse people engulfed in flames.
"I thought a plane must have hit the building," said office
worker Iin, who like many Indonesians uses a single name.
Inside a ground-floor restaurant at an adjacent building,
half-eaten pasta dishes sat on tables covered in broken glass. At an
abandoned Marriott restaurant, a table held a plate of fish, salad
and corn on the cob, alongside bottles of Hunt's ketchup and extra
hot chili sauce.
Ceiling and wall panels lay in the street outside the hotel. The
blast damaged the embassies of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark
in the adjacent Rajawali building, but no staffers were injured,
"People were screaming, panicking," said Sodik, a witness. "I
thought it was an earthquake (news
Puddles of blood and broken glass could be seen for two blocks
around the Marriott. The Indonesian Red Cross put the death toll at
13 and said 149 people were wounded.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Philip T. Reeker said
no Americans were killed. He said one of the two injured Americans
was hospitalized with burns and the other was treated and released.
Their identities were not released.
It was just under 10 months ago that suspected Islamic militants
blew up two nightclubs on the idyllic island of Bali and catapulted
Indonesia into the front lines of the international war on
The government has won praise for its efforts to crack down on
extremists and bring those responsible for the Bali attacks to
justice. In recent months, tourism and foreign investment had begun
to rebound, and the U.S. Embassy in April gave permission for
staffers to bring back their families.
All that has now been thrown into question.
The Indonesian currency, the rupiah, fell more than 2 percent
Tuesday and the Jakarta stock exchange (news
sites) closed 3.1 percent lower. Businesses and hotels reported
"This is another very, very tragic event for Indonesia's efforts
of recovery," said Anders Backman of the Swedish Embassy.
Bachtiar, the police chief, said officials suspected the bomb was
carried in an Indonesian-made Kijang van. He said its chassis number
had been found along with the vehicle's registration number.
"From the things we found at the crime scene it looks very much
like the bomb in Bali," Bachtiar said. "The situation is like it was
Suspicions immediately pointed toward Jemaah Islamiyah.
The group's alleged leader, Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, took
the stand for the first time Tuesday at his trial on treason charges
tied to Christmas Eve church bombings in 2000. Testifying before the
Marriott explosion, he admitted giving his blessing to Islamic
militants who trained in the Philippines and in Afghanistan (news
sites) in the 1990s.
Bashir, however, denies any link to terrorism.
About three dozen people suspected of belonging to Jemaah
Islamiyah have been arrested in the Bali blasts and could be
executed if convicted.
Having seen the economic fallout from the Bali bombings,
Indonesian leaders moved quickly Tuesday to bolster security.
Security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the government
had ordered strict security checks at the airport and other public
places, and said officials would announce even stronger security
Calling the blast a "diabolical and inhumane terrorist attack,"
he added: "We cannot allow any space for terrorism."
President Megawati Sukarnoputri toured the wreckage and visited
the wounded at a hospital. On Friday, she gave a state-of-the-nation
address calling militants "a terrifying threat" and vowing to
"dismantle the terrorist network to its roots."
Among world leaders, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
sites) condemned the bombing as a "dastardly act." German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer sent Indonesia his "deepest
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said it was a "a deplorable
attack on innocent civilians."
"We stand fully prepared to assist in any way possible to bring
those responsible to justice," McClellan said. He wouldn't say
whether that included sending in American investigators.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news
sites) called the attack "senseless killing."
"Every attempt should be made to arrest its perpetrators and hold
them accountable," he said.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who stayed at the Marriott
recently and whose country lost 88 citizens in the Bali blasts,
offered to send investigators.
"If, as it appears likely, it is a terrorist attack, it is yet
another reminder that the fight against JI (Jemaah Islamiyah) and
other groups goes on and it will be a fight that will take years and
require the cooperation of all of the agencies in the region,"
Among the dead was Dutch citizen Hans Winkelmolen, 49, who was
winding up a three-year assignment as president of PT Radobank Duta
Indonesia, a subsidiary of the Dutch cooperative bank Radobank. He
was eating in Marriott's restaurant with his successor, Tony Costa,
when the bomb went off, company spokesman Jan Dost said. Costa was