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Atika Shubert: Jakarta hotel was tightly guarded

CNN's Atika Shubert
CNN's Atika Shubert

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CNN's Atika Shubert on what police say was a car-bomb blast at a Jakarta Marriott.
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- A car bomb exploded Tuesday at a Marriott hotel in central Jakarta, Indonesia, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 100, police said.

In recent weeks, Indonesian authorities have been warning of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks in the Southeast Asian country.

CNN Correspondent Atika Shubert was at the bombing site Tuesday, and she spoke to Anchor Heidi Collins about the deadly explosion.

COLLINS: The blast was at a hotel that's popular with Americans and other foreigners. What do we know at this point?

SHUBERT: What we know for sure is that a car drove in at around 12:30 [p.m. local time] and exploded near the lobby, right near the taxi stand, caused a major fire to break out in nearby cars and blew out what was most of the lobby and a first-floor restaurant that was there. It killed 10 people.

It's a chaotic scene at the moment. I'm looking straight into what used to be the lobby of the Marriott hotel. It's now partially destroyed. Columns had been blown out by the blast. The first-floor restaurant that was here -- all of the glass walls had been blown in.

Police are saying most injured and killed were actually sitting in the restaurant having lunch when around 12:30 in the afternoon local time a car pulled up and exploded right in front of the restaurant and lobby.

Most of the people have been evacuated out of the hotel. There's more than 75 people injured. They have been brought to nearby hospitals, many of them critically injured with severe burns.

Police say no one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, and they don't have any leads on who might have carried out the blast. Of course, there's a lot of suspicion placed on a group called the Jemaah Islamiyah.

This is an al Qaeda-linked group of Islamic radicals that [has been blamed for] the Bali bombing attacks in October last year. That attack killed 200 people.

Police have been saying for weeks that Jemaah Islamiyah was planning another attack. So there is at the top of everyone's mind a big concern that the group may have struck again.

COLLINS: We should point out that in just two days from now, the final verdict in that very case will be handed down looking at this group in particular. But I do want to ask you a little bit about what we brought up a moment ago, and that is the security of this hotel. Note it is a tightly guarded hotel. What are police saying about that at this point?

A police officer yells as firefighters pump water onto damaged parts of the JW Marriott in Jakarta.
A police officer yells as firefighters pump water onto damaged parts of the JW Marriott in Jakarta.

SHUBERT: This was one of the most tightly guarded hotels in the city. Particularly because it hosted a number of events by the American Embassy. I've been in this hotel a number of times, and each time I've gone in, there's been a metal detector at every entrance. They check all of your bags. Every car parked in the basement went through a check.

However, the lobby was very vulnerable to attacks. The way it's shaped is kind of a U-shape. You could drive your car in, drop off passengers and drive out.

They don't know the specifics of what kinds of explosives, who detonated, whether or not it was a suicide bomber. They're hoping to get those clues shortly. Obviously, even though it was tightly guarded, it was vulnerable to attacks.

Security has been stepped up across the city. [Foreign] embassies are considering whether or not they should put in more travel warnings to Indonesia, which has already had a number of warnings because of the threat of terrorist attacks and a repeat of the Bali bombings, and apparently now this new attack against the Marriott hotel.

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