Police probe Bali bombers' identities

NO LEADS: Despite the circulation throughout Indonesia of pictures of the terrorists' severed heads, no one has come forward to officials with information on who they are


Wed, Oct 05, 2005 - Page 1

Indonesian police were recovering bomb scraps -- pellets, batteries, cables and detonators -- that might yield clues about who masterminded the deadly attacks on three restaurants on Bali, officials said yesterday.

Investigators also found shreds of a black bag, scraps of jeans and two wallets -- all believed to be owned by the suicide bombers, whose severed heads were found up to 20m from the scene, said police spokesman Brigadier General Sunarko Danu Artanto.

Tracking down the bombings' masterminds hinges on identifying the attackers, said Major General I Made Mangku Pastika, the Bali police chief, who made another urgent public appeal for help.

The suspects' pictures have been circulated nationwide, but no one has come forward with information.

Indonesian officials had earlier said the near-simultaneous bombings that killed 22 people and wounded 104 others apparently were planned by Malaysian fugitives Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top -- key figures in the al-Qaeda-linked regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

The organization, terror experts say, has been decimated by a series of arrests since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, but may have formed alliances with other organizations or individuals.

Pastika said yesterday it was too early to directly blame Azahari and Noordin -- or Jemaah Islamiyah.

"We still do not know that," he told reporters, adding that investigators' first priority was identifying the three bombers, who wore explosives -- packed with ball bearings and other shrapnel -- around their waists or in bags over their shoulders.

The blasts destroyed their torsos, but left their heads intact.

Once the suspects are identified, "we can trace which group they're from," he told reporters.

"We need the participation of all people in Indonesia," Pastika said. "The pictures of them [the attackers] are clear, and they are easy to recognize."

Meanwhile, Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, condemned Saturday's blasts, saying he opposed attacks on peaceful places like Bali.

But Bashir also warned that the suicide bombings were signs that God was displeased with Indonesia's rulers.

"I suggest the government bring themselves closer to God by implementing His rules and laws because these happenings are warnings from God for all of us," said Bashir.

Meanwhile, Australia has warned its citizens that Bali's Seminyak entertainment district could be the next terrorist target on Bali.

The warning was made late on Monday in an update to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Web, which advised Australians to avoid nonessential travel to Indonesia due to terrorist danger.

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