Bombs hit Jakarta hotels, 9 dead

[PeterPaul.ca] — Explosions in Jakarta targeted two well known hotels in central Jakarta early Friday as hotel guests gathered for breakfast, officials confirmed.

The bombings began at about 7:48 a.m. local time at the  J.W. Marriott hotel in the Indonesian capital. Minutes later, another bomb detonated about one kilometre away at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, police responded immediately and sealed off the two crime scenes, officials said.

“Guests at both hotels have been evacuated. The guests have been moved to a secure location,” Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, wrote on his blog Friday.

Media reports say nine people are reported dead, a casualty figure that will surely rise as the smoke clears.

“To all who have tweeted, we are gathering info and will have more as we learn details from Jakarta,” a message posted on the Marriott International Twitter page said earlier Thursday. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims and their families,” the posting added.

Family or relatives are urged to contact the Marriott Family Assistance Hotline at 866-211-4610 or 402-390-3265 for additional information.

The J.W. Marriott hotel was the target of a 2003 suicide bombing in which 12 people were killed, Jemaah Islamiyah, an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the bombing. No claim of responsibility has emerged for Friday’s bombings.

Indonesia’s fight against terror has been in the spotlight since the Bali nightclub bombings killed 202 people on October 12, 2002. Most of the dead were foreign tourists.

Officials feared terror attacks during the recent presidential elections on July 8, which occurred peacefully despite those concerns.

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