A powerful car bomb exploded near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta Thursday, killing nine people and wounding four Chinese and at least 156 others, witnesses and officials said.
Police immediately blamed Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian terror network linked to al-Qaeda.
The Health Ministry said nine people had died and 160 were wounded. Three of the dead were policemen guarding the building, police said.
At least four Chinese people were among the injured in the blast.
"The scale of this incident and the number of casualties involved are very shocking to us," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular briefing in Beijing.
"Four Chinese workers were taken to hospital for treatment. Our embassy staff have visited them in hospital."
He Shiqing, a press officer with the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia said that the four Chinese are all employees of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
"They were lightly injured when the windows of their offices, nearby the embassy, were shattered by the explosion," he said, adding that the embassy was keeping close contact with the hospital.
No one inside the heavily fortified embassy was hurt, said Lyndall Sachs with the Australian Foreign Ministry in Canberra.
The bombing flattened the mission's gate, mangled cars and motorbikes on the street and shattered scores of windows in nearby high-rise buildings.
"Initial investigations show this was a car bomb. We do not know whether anyone was in the car," police chief Dai Bachtiar said.
In the past several years Indonesia has been hit by a series of deadly bombings of Western targets by militants belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah. In 2002, 202 people -- including 88 Australians -- died in an attack on two nightclubs on the tourist island of Bali.
Bachtiar said yesterday's bombing bore the hallmark of Jemaah Islamiyah.
"The modus operandi is very similar to other attacks, including the Bali bombings and the Marriott blast," he said. "We can conclude (the perpetrators) are the same group."
The embassy is located on Rasuna Said Street, a main thoroughfare in the Kuningan District housing foreign embassies and businesses.
President Megawati Sukarnoputri was in neighboring Brunei yesterday attending a royal wedding, but cut short her stay to return to Jakarta after learning about the explosion, officials said.
"We strongly condemn this action. Together we fight the war against terrorism," Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told reporters at the scene of the blast.
(China Daily September 10, 2004)