Skip to comments.Warning Of Bomb In Text Message (Jakarta)
Posted on 09/10/2004 4:58:02 PM PDT by blam
Warning of bomb in text message
By Marianne Kearney in Jakarta
Indonesian police were warned about the bomb attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in a mobile phone text message 45 minutes before the bomb exploded, Alexander Downer, the Australian foreign minister, said yesterday.
The message said a western embassy would be attacked unless Abu Bakar Bashir, the Islamic cleric being held on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, was released immediately.
Bashir, alleged to be the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group behind the Bali bombings, is due to be put on trial later this month.
Mr Downer, who met President Megawati Sukarnoputri yesterday, said: "Terrorists need to know that the Indonesian and Australian governments, and others as well, will hunt them down until we catch every single one of them."
Indonesian police said they suspected Thursday's embassy attack, which killed at least nine people, was carried out by up to three people. "Militants arrested recently said there were three men who were ready to become suicide bombers," a police chief said.
Well then kill him. Then buildings stop blowing up.
Terror strike: Warning of more to come
Intelligence warning comes as JI claims responsibility for attack in Jakarta; two unidentified bodies could be bombers'
By Devi Asmarani
JAKARTA - Indonesia could be rocked by more deadly terrorist attacks following Thursday's suicide bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, intelligence agencies warn.
PM'S LETTER OF CONDOLENCE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent a letter of condolence to Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri on Thursday following the bomb blast in Jakarta: 'I was outraged to learn of the bomb blast near the Australian embassy in Jakarta today. On behalf of the Government and people of Singapore, I extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to all the victims and their families.
'We strongly condemn these acts of violence. Singapore will fully support Indonesia in your efforts to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
'History shows that the Government and people of Indonesia will overcome these difficult times and prevail.'
Police have blamed the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah for the blast, which killed nine people and wounded 182. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the terrorist network could launch another strike.
'We have been warned that there is the possibility of another attack of this kind in Jakarta,' he told a news conference in Canberra.
'The number of people they (intelligence agencies) believe to be operatives would support the fear that there could be another attack,' he said.
Australia's Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said in a radio interview yesterday a second cell of militants may be active in Indonesia and could be poised for another attack.
Jemaah Islamiah was behind the Bali bombings in 2002 that killed 202 people and last year's attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12.
It appeared to admit responsibility for the embassy attack on an Internet site. A statement, which could not immediately be authenticated, warned of more attacks unless Australia withdrew its forces from Iraq.
'We decided to call Australia to account, which we consider one of the worst enemies of God, and God's religion of Islam,' the statement said.
'Here we were able to call it to account today in Jakarta, where one of the mujahedeen (holy warriors) was able to execute a martyrdom operation with a truck bomb in front of the embassy.'
Indonesian police said the blast, which left a large crater outside the embassy compound and tore off the glass fronts of surrounding office towers, bore the hallmarks of two Malaysians who are leading JI figures - bomb-maker Azahari Husin and Mohd Noordin Top.
Sources said another militant, an Indonesian electronics expert named Dulmatin alias Noval, was also involved in the latest attack.
All three were involved in the Bali bombings and the Marriott attack.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who flew to Jakarta on Thursday night along with Australian police and security experts, said Indonesian police were warned 45 minutes before the bombing that Western missions would be attacked if JI's spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir was not freed from police custody.
Mr Downer told a news conference the warning to release Bashir was sent in a phone text message.
'(They) received an SMS message about 45 minutes before the attack yesterday that there would be an attack on Western embassies unless Abu Bakar Bashir was released,' Mr Downer said.
Bashir, 66, is awaiting formal charges over accusations of his involvement in terror acts.
Mr Howard said the SMS threat was not passed on to the Australian Federal Police until several hours after the mid-morning bombing in Jakarta's business district.
Mr Keelty told a news conference here the car bomb consisted of about 200 kg of potassium chloride, the ingredient similar to the bombs used by JI in the Bali and Marriott attacks.
Forensic experts are working to match two unidentified bodies found at the blast site to determine whether they could be the bombers'.
A video of the busy street taken from security cameras showed a Daihatsu van being driven up to the embassy and then exploded.
Anger at the police
JAKARTA - Indonesia's media has hit out at the local police for failing to battle terrorism after the third bombing in less than two years left more innocent civilians dead.
'We are embarrassed because the police of this country are not able to prevent repeated bombings,' Media Indonesia said in an editorial beside a front-page headline: 'Terror 9/9'.
'How is it possible that people like Dr Azahari and Noordin Mohammad Top, who are being pursued, are still capable of carrying out bombings?' asked Media, calling the attack 'sadistic'.
Azahari is an alleged bomb-maker for the Jemaah Islamiah regional extremist group, along with his associate Noordin Mohammad Top.
The country's largest daily, Kompas, also questioned the effectiveness of the security forces. If indeed the fugitive Azahari is behind the attack, Kompas said, 'it's proper if we ask how far he and his assistants have been trailed in an intelligent, efficient and thorough manner so that they can finally be apprehended'.
The Jakarta Post said it seemed that following the 'good work' they did after the Bali bombing, 'our police officers and intelligence agencies have somehow allowed their vigilance to slacken'.
Koran Tempo referred to the recent scandal in which an anti-terrorism detective accompanied convicted Bali bomber Ali Imron to a Starbucks cafe for what police said were investigative purposes.
Koran Tempo also urged Parliament and the government to demand that police chief General Da'i Bachtiar explain why three major bombings have occurred during his term. -- AFP
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