07/17/2009, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Explosions in two hotels in Jakarta: 9 dead and 42 injured

The bombs were placed in a coffee shop in the Marriott and a restaurant of the Ritz Carlton. Among the dead and wounded, there are also many foreigners. Jemaah Islamiya suspected. Shockwaves hit economy.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Two powerful explosions at the Ritz Carton at the Marriott hotel and killed 9 people and injuring another 42. It is the most violent terrorist attack since 2005. The two explosions took place around 8 am, in the central district of Kuningan, first in a café in the Marriott and a few minutes later in the Ritz restaurant where guests were taking breakfast. Among the dead and wounded there are also foreigners. Hours later a car exploded in another district, causing two deaths, but it seems that the blast was the result of a battery mal-function.

Jakarta has been spared terrorist attacks for some years. The last attack took place on 9 September 2004, in front of Australian embassy, killing 10 people. A year earlier, the Marriott hotel was the victim of yet another attack that killed 12 people.

But in recent years, the most populous Muslim country has suffered countless attacks.   In 2000, several Christian churches were targeted, with 19 deaths. In October 2002 bombings in Bali killed 202 people.

All these attacks have been attributed to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an organization close to Al Qaeda. In recent years thanks to new laws, anti-terror training and international collaboration, the Indonesian government has arrested hundreds of activists or sympathizers of the group and in 2008 sentenced to death 3 of the Bali bombers, but some leaders are still at large. Among them is the Malaysian Noordin Mohammad Top, the alleged organizer of the attack on the Marriott in Jakarta and the Bali bombings.

Increased stability is also due to the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, who a few weeks ago won a second term, promising to step up the fight against terrorism and corruption, and to facilitate foreign investment.

The Indonesian economy, the largest in the South-East Asia, has been shaken by these attacks, the stock market fell by 2% and the Indonesian rupee has depreciated by 0.7%.

 
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