Indonesia: Jakarta Bombings Linked to Al-Jamaah Al-Islamiyah

Updated On: Jul 20, 2009

Suicide bombings were carried out at 2 luxury hotels in Jakarta on Friday. At least nine people were killed and up to 50 were injured in Friday's attacks on the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in downtown Jakarta.

Early indications suggest that those responsible are the Al-Jemaah Al-Islamiyah (JI) fundamentalists responsible for the Bali nightclub bombings in 2002 and 2005.

"From the modus operandi, this is clearly linked to Noordin Mohammed Top," the security ministry's anti-terror desk chief, Ansyaad Mbai, was quoted as saying by state-run Antara news agency.

No group has claimed responsibility but police have said the home-made bombs were identical to those used in previous attacks linked to Noordin, a master bomb-maker and leader of a splinter group of the JI network.

He is believed to have masterminded an earlier bombing at the Jakarta Marriott in 2003, and attacks on the Australian Embassy in 2004 and Bali restaurants in 2005.

Noordin’s hardline approach has alienated the mainstream JI leadership to the extent that he “is no longer acting in the name of the JI”, said International Crisis Group (ICG) analyst Sidney Jones.

"The bulk of JI members are not interested in violence now because they regard this kind of bombing as counter-productive," added Jones. "They need to rebuild their organization and they do that by recruiting new members through religious outreach. This kind of bombing does not bring you any new members, it creates outrage in the community."

The bombings occurred barely 2 weeks after President Susilo Bambang won the presidential elections on July 7, and deals a blow to Indonesia’s reputation for successful counter-terrorism in recent years.

Analysts say Indonesia has made valuable headway with a divide-and-rule strategy that has hobbled the JI and sown division in its ranks, but that creeping complacency has allowed a radical fringe to fester.

“I think worldwide, counterterrorism has been looking at Indonesia as a successful model until now,” said Indonesia-based analyst Noor Huda Ismail.


Philipine Daily Inquirer, AFP, Hotel bombings jolt Indon complacency , 20 July 2009, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090720-2163...

The Wall Street Journal, Indonesia Interrupted, 20 July 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124803626699163109.html

ChannelNewsAsia, Indonesia attacks 'clearly linked' to Malaysian extremist, 18 July 2009,http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/443247/1/.ht...

The Wall Street Journal, Terror in Jakarta, 20 July 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124802887264862955.html

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