Jakarta hotel bombing kills 10
American-owned JW Marriott popular with expatriate execs
JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- A powerful car bomb exploded Tuesday at the JW Marriott Hotel in central Jakarta, Indonesia, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 100, police said.
Indonesian officials said a Dutch national was among the dead, and U.S. State Department officials said at least two Americans were hurt. An earlier report that an American was killed was inaccurate.
Several Australians and Singaporeans also were wounded in the attack, Indonesian officials said.
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri visited the bomb site Tuesday evening with her husband and the Jakarta chief of police. Her government is expected to announce new security measures Wednesday.
White House spokesman Scott McLellan said: "This is a deplorable attack on innocent civilians. We are fully prepared to assist in any way possible to bring those responsible to justice."
He added the attack was a reminder that the global war on terrorism is ongoing. "The war continues, and we will not stop until we have disrupted, dismantled and defeated these terrorist organizations," he said.
In the wake of Tuesday's explosion, thick black smoke could be seen billowing out of the Marriott, and several cars parked outside were ablaze.
The blast occurred about 12:30 p.m. local time Tuesday, shattering scores of plate-glass windows in the 33-floor luxury hotel.
The American-owned hotel was popular with expatriate business executives.
Gen. Da'i Bachtiar, chief of the Indonesian National Police, told reporters some of the injured are believed to be in critical condition.
CNN's Atika Shubert, reporting from the scene, said the explosion was powerful, with debris strewn across a wide area in front of the hotel. (On the Scene: Atika Shubert)
Pools of blood and broken glass littered the driveway running past the hotel complex.
One guest at the hotel, Australian tourist Simon Leuning, had just checked in and was relaxing in his room when the explosion occurred. "The window blew in, blew me across the room," he told Reuters Television. "I got out of there as fast as I could." (Blast scene)
A ground-floor restaurant close to the hotel lobby and a roof covering the entrance bore the brunt of the blast and were almost entirely destroyed.
Most of the dead and injured were in the restaurant when the explosion occurred.
Group with al Qaeda link
No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack. In recent weeks, police have been warning of the elevated risk of terrorist attacks, and suspicion has fallen on the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been linked to al Qaeda.
Forensics experts combing the wreckage for clues Tuesday said one of the bomb ingredients was potassium chlorate -- the chemical used in last year's deadly Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.
Indonesian police have blamed Jemaah Islamiyah for the Bali bombings.
"The attack bears the hallmark of [Jemaah Islamiyah], who aim to inflict mass casualties, as was the case in Bali," said Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert with the Singapore-based Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.
"[Jemaah Islamiyah] is very much intact and operational. This attack could have been timed to coincide with the trial of the Bali bombers," Gunaratna said.
A verdict is due this week in the case of the so-called "smiling bomber" -- the man accused of planting the bombs in October's nightclub bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali. (Bomber awaits fate)
Investigators said the Bali bombers were funded by Jemaah Islamiyah.
Jemaah Islamiyah's alleged spiritual leader, radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'ashir, is also on trial for a series of bombings in 2000.
Hotel security considered tight
Visitors to the five-star JW Marriott said the hotel had implemented stringent security checks, including metal detectors, and was considered by many to be one of the most secure hotels in the city.
The hotel, part of the U.S.-owned international chain, is near a number of foreign embassies and headquarters of several major multinational corporations.
It is also a popular venue for functions and was used by the U.S. ambassador to host July Fourth celebrations.
The Marriott opened in September 2001 and is situated to the south of Jakarta's city center in the newly developed Mega Kuningan commercial district.
For those who need information about employees and guests of the Jakarta Marriott, the company offers these numbers: Inside the United States, call (866) 211-4610, and outside the United States, call (011-402) 390-3265.