Investigators sift for clues

 Grief-stricken:  Australian-Malaysian couple Rob (right) and Nadine Doddemeade wail over the death of their friends in Friday’s bomb blast in front of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on Saturday.  AP
Investigators were sifting through two bomb-damaged luxury Indonesian hotels on Saturday, for clues to those behind the suicide attacks that shattered four years of stability in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Although officials could not say who they believed was responsible for Friday’s attacks, suspicion is pointing towards Jemaah Islamiah, the radical militant Islamist group responsible for a string of deadly attacks that seemed to end in 2005.

“It has the signature of our ‘friends’,” said a retired Southeast Asian police officer now focused on counter-terrorism in the region.

The bombers struck the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, luxury hotels popular with businessmen and diplomats and considered to be among the most secure buildings in the capital.

Officials said eight people were killed and 55 injured.

The casualties included citizens of Indonesia, the United States, Australia, South Korea, the Netherlands, Italy, Britain, Canada, Norway, Japan and India. Police said the bombers had checked in to the Marriott as paying guests on Wednesday and had assembled the bombs in their room. A third bomb was found and defused in a laptop computer bag on the 18th floor.

A police spokesman told reporters that a metal detector had beeped when a bomb hidden inside a laptop bag passed through the scanner, but that the bomber had said it was a laptop and the security guards had let him go through.

Security measures
“Even as Indonesians are given due credit for all they have done preventing an attack for four years, they should also carefully examine what went wrong with the security measures and seek a better understanding of the domestic network that supports terrorism,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Walter Lohman.

International reaction to the bombings has been swift.
US President Barack Obama, who spent four years living in Jakarta as a child after his mother married an Indonesian, called the attacks “outrageous”.

“These attacks make it clear that extremists remain committed to murdering innocent men, women and children of any faith in all countries,” the White House said in a statement.

Lohman said he was confident Indonesia could bounce back from the latest tragedy.
“Indonesia defines resiliency,” he said in a commentary. “It will get past the July 17 bombings just as it got past the others.”

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