Bali images point to suicide attacks

At least 22 dead in bombings

World

October 03, 2005|By RICHARD C. PADDOCK | RICHARD C. PADDOCK,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Kuta, Indonesia -- Bali police released grisly photos yesterday of the heads of three men suspected of carrying out suicide bomb attacks here, as well as an eerie video of one of them walking into a steakhouse wearing what appears to be a backpack and blowing up.

"We have reached a conclusion that they were suicide bombings," said Bali Police Chief I Made Mangku Pastika.

The disclosures came less than 24 hours after the blasts and added to mounting evidence that the triple bombing was carried out by the same Muslim extremist group that has been conducting suicide bomb attacks in Indonesia over the past three years.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono briefly toured the bomb sites and said Indonesia needed to protect "soft" targets such as restaurants and nightclubs from extremists willing to sacrifice their own lives.

"So far, our investigation indicates that this attack was done by terrorist suicide bombers," the president said. "For sure, there has to be some way to prevent bombings in open areas like last night."

The death toll from the blasts remained uncertain yesterday as authorities handled the gruesome job of sorting body parts. Officials at Sanglah Hospital, where most victims were taken, said 23 people were killed in the blasts along with the three suspected bombers.

But the police chief said there had been some double-counting at the hospital and that only 19 had died, in addition to the three suspected killers.

Five of the dead appear to be foreigners, including two Australians and one Japanese citizen. Six Americans were reported injured.

Police said evidence indicated that the three bombers entered the restaurants in Kuta and on Jimbaran beach with explosives in backpacks strapped to their bodies.

The first bomb ripped through the Menega seafood cafe on Jimbaran Beach at 7:40 p.m. The second went off at 7:41 p.m. down the beach at the Nyoman cafe. The third exploded at 7:45 p.m. at the Raja restaurant 18 miles away in Kuta.

Jemaah Islamiyah, an extremist Muslim group linked to al-Qaida, is known for carrying out nearly simultaneous bombings. On Oct. 12, 2002, one attacker walked into Paddy's Bar in Bali wearing a bomb that exploded inside the club. A van with a second suicide bomber and a powerful fertilizer bomb was parked outside. As the crowd fled, the car bomb exploded, destroying the nearby Sari Club.

Pastika introduced the video of the Raja bombing at a news conference.

"We compare between Paddy's and here, and it is exactly the same," said Pastika, who headed the 2002 bombing investigation.

The brief footage showed a man wearing a backpack going in the door and walking past tables to the back, where he barely remained in the frame. The video ends a moment later with a bright flash of light.

In the photos Pastika released, the facial features of all three men are recognizable, and police hope release of the photos will lead to their identification.

Richard C. Paddock writes for the Los Angeles Times. The Times' Dinda Jouhana contributed to this report.

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