UPDATE: Jakarta Bombings

[PeterPaul.ca] — Bombings in Jakarta on Friday appear to be the work of al Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah [JI], however no claim of responsibility has emerged.

In his book Inside al Qaeda terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna wrote that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Indonesia was the only country where demonstrations supporting Osama bin Laden were being sustained.

JI has been linked to at least seven terrorist plots, the most recent being the 2005 Bali bombings. The group was also linked to the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

The attacks in Jakarta Friday exhibited the hallmarks of a JI operation, planning, secrecy and coordination. Several media outlets reported that the suspected bombers were disguised as guests.

Indonesian presidential advisor Djali Yusuf was quoted as saying that the ” … control-centre was a room at the JW Marriott, room number 1808, where anti-terror police found explosive materials and an un-exploded bomb.”

The bombings were minutes apart, first at the J.W. Marriott then at the Ritz-Carlton across the street.

Officials from both hotels, the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, said all guests were evacuated to other hotels in the area. “Both hotels sustained damage, but it does not appear to be structural,” a Marriott International statement said.

Due to a recent bombing at the J.W. Marriott in 2003, “extensive security procedures were in place at the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott.” NLT has contacted the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta through email to confirm any Canadian casualties but have yet to receive a reply.

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