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Bomb injures 11 at Sukarno-Hatta Airport JAKARTA - A bomb ripped through a crowded terminal at Jakarta's main airport Sunday, wounding 11 people and sending hundreds of passengers fleeing from the building. One of the wounded was seriously injured in the explosion, which occurred between a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet and a ticket counter for Indonesia's national carrier, Garuda. It sent shards of broken window glass flying and tossed rows of chairs across the terminal.
The attack comes as the U.S. government is allowing the families of its embassy staff to return to Jakarta, the capital. The State Department pulled employees and their dependents out of the country after the Bali nightclub bombings in October. No one claimed responsibility for the early morning bombing at the airport, the second attack in the capital in four days, said Police Chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar.
Indonesia Security Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the state news agency Antara that he believed the blast was the work of Free Aceh Movement, which has been fighting a 26-year war with the government. The two sides signed peace pact on Dec. 9 but violence in the oil-rich province has increased in recent weeks. The government on Thursday canceled talks scheduled for this weekend that were supposed to address the increased tensions.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is struggling to deal with a list of terrorist and secessionist movements that mushroomed after the ouster of the dictator Suharto almost five years ago. Chief Detective Lt. Gen. Erwin Mapasseng said the bomb appeared similar to a small pipe bomb that exploded outside the main U.N. building in downtown Jakarta on Thursday. No one was injured in that blast.
``This was meant to terrorize people,'' Mapasseng said. ``If people are scared, then these people have achieved their goal. We're asking people not to panic and to remain calm.'' Police sealed off the area near the restaurant, but the terminal remained open and flights were operating, Dede said. The blast comes four days after Abu Bakar Bashir - the alleged spiritual leader of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah - went on trial for treason.
Bashir is accused of involvement in a series of 2000 Christmas Eve church bombings that killed 19 people. He has denied accusations that those blasts were intended to whip up violence between majority Muslims and Christians to destabilize Indonesia's secular government. Sunday's airport blast also follows an announcement on Wednesday that a week of police raids resulted in the arrests of 18 suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiyah group, including three wanted in the Oct. 12 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
On Friday, the U. S. government announced it would allow families of its Jakarta embassy staff to return to Indonesia, saying security has improved in the six months since the Bali night club bombings. Nearly 200 family members are expected to start returning next week. Last month, the State Department ruled that nonessential staff could return but not their families.
``The Indonesian government has made commendable progress in arresting the Bali terrorists and solving a string of terrorist attacks over the last several years,'' an embassy official said.



Posted in Terrorism @ 27 April 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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