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Al Qaeda admits Bali blasts on Web

Visitors place candles at the blast site in front of the Sari Club
Visitors place candles at the blast site in front of the Sari Club

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SPECIAL REPORT

DENPASAR, Indonesia (CNN) -- Islamic militant group al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on a Bali nightclub in which more than 180 people died.

The group said it had targeted "nightclubs and whorehouses in Indonesia" in a Web site message which also boasted of its aim to hit inside Arab and Islamic countries which are part of a "Jewish-Crusader" alliance.

The al Neda Web site has been used in the past by al Qaeda to claim responsibility for attacks, including the synagogue fire in Tunisia in which mainly German tourists died, and strikes on two ships in Yemen. The Web site's address has been moved repeatedly.

The al Qaeda message read: "By attempting to strike a U.S. plane in Saudi Arabia and by bombing a Jewish synagogue in Tunisia, destroying two ships in Yemen, attacking the Fialka base in Kuwait, and bombing nightclubs and whorehouses in Indonesia, al Qaeda has shown it has no qualms about attacking inside Arab and Islamic lands."

The statement was translated by CNN.

"This is provided that the target belongs to the Jewish-Crusader alliance," it continues.

The synagogue bombing took place in April and killed 19 people, most of them German tourists.

The attacks on the French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and on U.S. Marines training in Kuwait happened in October.

Several men were arrested in Saudi Arabia in June accused of plotting to shoot down aircraft, reported to have included U.S. military planes based at Prince Sultan airbase.

'Hijacking of Islam'

In an interview with CNN, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said he had also seen a translation of the statement, "It's a hijacking of Islam. It's a distortion of Islam," he said.

Wolfowitz echoed others, including President George W. Bush, in calling the Bali bombing the work of al Qaeda. "I think anybody looking at the evidence of everything that's been happening over the last 10 years, and particularly the last 18 months, would have to say this has all of the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation," he told CNN.

"We can see it from their Web sites, that al Qaeda views this as a major target for disruption and recruitment and for conducting terrorist attacks," Wolfowitz added, saying that the Bali attack had been a wake-up call for the Indonesian government and people in the war on terrorism.

The claim came after Indonesian police said a suspect had confessed during interrogation to being part of a group which carried out the Bali bomb blasts in the October 12 attack on the Sari Club in the resort town of Kuta. (Full Story)

The man, claiming to have planted the Bali bomb, told interrogators he had left it in a minivan, National Police Chief Da'i Bachtiar said.

According to a spokesman for the international team of investigators, Amrozi was arrested on Wednesday on the main Indonesian island of Java after police identified him as the van's owner.

He was later flown to Bali for questioning.

Police are still searching for his colleagues.

-- CNN's Senior Producer Henry Schuster contributed to this report



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