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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 09:12 GMT
Bali bombs 'work of experts'
Australian forensic investigators in Kuta
Forensic experts have combed through the site
The Australian police commander investigating last month's Bali bombing has said it was a carefully planned operation designed to maximise casualties.


Events were successfully planned and executed to achieve the maximum casualties

Graham Ashton
He was speaking as Indonesian police said they were on the trail of one of three suspects wanted in connection with the 12 October attack, which left more than 180 people dead.

Indonesian police found a photograph matching a police sketch of the suspect in a house they raided, and they were now searching for the man in East Java, said a police spokesman, Sad Harunantyo.

Foreign forensic experts have completed an examination of the bomb sites.

"The degree of coordination including the vehicle placement really reflected a high degree of planning and a high degree of expertise," said Australian Federal Police agent Graham Ashton.

Mixed findings

Mr Ashton did not speculate on the attackers' identity, but suggested a link between the three bombs which exploded on Bali and an explosives theft a month earlier on Indonesia's main island, Java.

The site of the bomb blasts at the Sari nightclub in Kuta, Bali
Many victims have not yet been identified
Australian investigators believe the devices which went off in the resort town of Kuta and Bali's capital Denpasar were caused by the explosive chlorate, ignited by a "booster" charge such as TNT.

According to Mr Ashton, 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of chlorate was stolen in September from a location on Java. He gave no further details.

He said the bombs in Kuta appeared to have been detonated electronically or by remote control.

"Events were successfully planned and executed to achieve the maximum casualties," said Mr Ashton.

Indonesian investigators dispute some elements of the Australian findings. They said they found traces of a different explosive that they believe was imported from abroad.

Australian raids

One bomb in Kuta devastated the Sari Club to such an extent that the bodies of some of the revellers killed have still not been identified.

"It may be of some reassurance to the families of the Australian victims to know that those people who lost their lives in the Sari club did so very, very quickly, such was the size of the blast," Mr Ashton said.

The team of 130 Australian police officers involved in the Bali investigation will continue to work alongside Indonesian officers despite the completion of the foreign forces' examination.

Indonesia on Friday summoned an Australian embassy official over "heavy-handed" raids in Australia on Indonesian citizens suspected of belonging to banned terrorist groups.

But Australian Prime Minister John Howard has defended the raids, which took place in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

On Friday, several hundred supporters of a radical Islamic cleric protested in Indonesia against his detention by police.

Police want to question the cleric, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, about terrorist attacks in 2000.

He is also widely believed to be leader of the militant Islamic organisation Jemaah Islamiah, which some governments have accused of involvement in the Bali attack.

Police sketches of the three suspects
Police sketches of the three suspects


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01 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
31 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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30 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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