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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Two questioned over Bali bombing
Australian tourists weep as the leave the site of the blast
Many of the victims were Australian
Two Indonesian men are being intensively questioned by police investigating the bomb attack in Bali which killed nearly 200 people on Saturday.

Indonesian police chief Da'i Bachtiar said the identity card of one of them had been found close to the nightclub where the car bomb exploded, in the beachside town of Kuta.

The man has refused to say anything since being picked up.

Police say they have also found traces of plastic explosive at the bomb scene - suggesting a sophisticated operation.

The development came as the Indonesian Government came under intense pressure to find those responsible for the attack.


Bomb victims

  • Victims came from about two dozen countries
  • Australia, Britain and Indonesia suffered the highest number of casualties
  • Most of those injured were foreign tourists


  • US President George W Bush - who said the Bali blast fitted a pattern of other recent attacks - said he would give the Indonesian leader a frank message when the pair spoke.

    Two other Indonesians are also being questioned in connection with the bomb attack last Saturday on the Philippines Consulate General in the northern city of Manado.

    Police earlier questioned about 30 foreigners - including 10 Pakistanis who voluntarily gave themselves up - as witnesses to the Kuta attack, but none of them were being treated as suspects.

    Several countries - including Indonesia itself - have pointed to the possible involvement of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

    Experts from the United States, Australia, France and Japan are involved in the investigation.

    However, the foreign minister of Australia - where many of the victims are thought to be from - has said he does not want to get into a game of international criticism of Indonesia over its efforts to deal with terrorism.

    The government of Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has in the past been criticised for failing to take action to combat the threat of terrorism.

    Local extremists

    Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said what mattered was bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    Enlarge image
    Enlarge image

    Aerial view of the devastation

    There was also condemnation of the attack by the United Nations Security Council, which voted unanimously to remind all countries of their obligation to fight terrorism.

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard said catching the attackers "will require naturally the 100% commitment of the Indonesian authorities".

    His counterpart in New Zealand, Helen Clark, told parliament that Indonesia's intelligence services needed strengthening to play their part in detecting and preventing acts of terror.

    No group has admitted carrying out the attack in the beach resort of Kuta.


    My boyfriend and I were 100 meters from the bombs when they went off.

    Georgina Fairley

    The US and other countries believe it may well have involved the al-Qaeda network of Osama Bin Laden - the man blamed for the 11 September attacks in the US last year - along with local extremist allies.

    Suspicion has fallen on a radical Islamic group in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiah.

    The Australian Prime Minister said his country will call on the UN to list Jemaah Islamiah as a terrorist organisation.

    However in an interview with the BBC, the group's alleged leader Abu Bakar Bashir condemned the Bali attack for killing so many innocent victims and rejected claims that al-Qaeda was to blame.

    He also said that as far as he was concerned the organisation did not even exist in Indonesia.

    Abu Bakar Bashir is wanted in a number of countries for his alleged ties with Jemaah Islamiah. However the Indonesian authorities have refused to arrest him, saying there is no evidence tying him to any terrorist activity.

    Forensics

    On Monday Indonesia admitted for the first time to the possibility that al-Qaeda is operating on its soil.

    "I am not afraid to say, though many have refused to say, that an al-Qaeda network exists in Indonesia," Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil said in Jakarta.

    "The Bali bomb blast is related to al-Qaeda with the co-operation of local terrorists."

    Efforts are continuing in Bali to identify the remains of those caught up in the blast, and officials have appealed for families of victims to provide data to help in the task.

    Only 44 bodies have been positively identified out of a confirmed death toll of at least 181: 20 Australians, eight Britons, six Indonesians, five Singaporeans, and one citizen each from the Netherlands, Ecuador, France, Germany and New Zealand.

    Helpline numbers
    Office of US Citizens' Services: 202 647 5225/5226
    UK Foreign Office: 020 7008 0000
    Australian Foreign Affairs Department: 1-800 002 214 or 02 6261 3305
    New Zealand Foreign Ministry: 0800 432 111

    Many of the foreign citizens injured have been airlifted out of Bali - hundreds to Australia alone - and local hospital care is now concentrated on the 100 or so local people badly injured in the attack.

    About 200 people gathered on Kuta beach as the sun set on Monday to hold hands and light candles in a vigil for the dead.

    Wreaths from survivors and their relatives paying tribute to the victims litter the streets around the site of the explosion.


     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Clive Myrie
    "Every tiny piece of debris may yield a precious clue"
    International security expert Dan Plesch
    "What we're looking at is a diverse set of very dangerous groups and individuals"

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    See also:

    15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    14 Oct 02 | Health
    15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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