Indonesian police have recovered a laptop that they believe belonged to one of the bombers of Friday’s twin hotel attacks in Jakarta, the country’s official news agency said Sunday.
The laptop contained information and codes that the attackers may have used to communicate with each other, the state-run Antara News Agency said. The computer was found in a room at the Ritz Carlton, one of two hotels targeted Friday. The other site was the JW Marriott. The blasts killed nine people — including at least two presumed suicide bombers — and wounded more than 50. Anti-terrorism officials are investigating the links between the attacks and Noordin M. Top, the suspected leader of a small Jemaah Islamiyah splinter group. The group has ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network, but so far there has been no claim of responsibility for the latest attack. Top is reportedly an officer, recruiter, bomb-maker, and trainer for the group, which was involved in a previous attack on the Marriott — in August 2003 — as well as attacks on a Bali nightclub in 2003 and the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004, according to the FBI. Among the victims who have been identified by Indonesia’s health ministry, two were Australian, and one each from New Zealand, Singapore and Indonesia. Among the wounded were six U.S. nationals, according to the State Department. On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed one of the victims, saying Garth McEvoy was the first government official to be killed by a terrorist attack in the line of duty. Rudd also said two other Australians were presumed dead.
Blog: Hotel bomb suspect could strike again
Indonesia has a history of bombings
iReport.com: Send your photos, videos
Why hotels make tempting terror targets
Indonesia’s National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso has said the type of explosives found were similar to those found in a recent raid on a home in West Java that was linked to Top. “We cannot clearly determine at this time if these bombings are linked to Noordin Top’s network. We have only established similarities in the explosive cache that were found in the island of Java and the Bali bombings,” police said. Closed-circuit television footage from the Marriott shows a man, sporting a baseball cap and pulling a wheeled suitcase, heading toward the hotel’s lobby-level restaurant seconds before the deadly blast. Didik Ahmad Taufik, the Marriott’s security supervisor, told reporters Saturday that a man, matching the image on the security camera footage, was walking “awkwardly” into the hotel’s restaurant about 30 minutes before the blast. The man told Taufik he was at the hotel to deliver an item to his boss.
Emergency numbersMarriott/Ritz-Carlton Family Assistance Hotline +1 8662114610 +14023903265
Taufik said he asked a security guard to accompany the man as he made his delivery. “But unluckily, a few minutes after that, I heard an explosion and was hit by debris from the ceiling,” Taufik said, according to Antara. One of the suspected bombers had been staying at the hotel since June 15, he said.
The bombings at the two luxury hotels — which are connected by an underground tunnel — happened shortly before 8 a.m. (9 p.m. Thursday ET). Both blasts struck the hotels’ restaurants. The hotels are frequented by international visitors and many foreign nationals.