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Indonesia, Bush Sees Al Qaeda Link to Bali Blasts
Indonesia linked the al Qaeda network to the Bali bomb explosions that killed 189 people, conceding publicly for the first time Monday the group was operating in the Muslim country.

As the United States ordered the evacuation of nonessential embassy staff from Indonesia and frightened tourists fled Bali, Indonesian authorities strove to show they were serious about tackling terrorism.

Police indicated the first breakthrough in an investigation into the blasts by saying they had names of individuals connected to the attacks.

Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil, seeking to head off criticism from the United States and Asian neighbors that Jakarta was soft on Islamic militants, drew a connection between al Qaeda and Saturday night's attacks on nightclubs packed with foreigners on Bali's Kuta Beach.

He said the explosions were the work of professionals. That is why, he said, "I am not afraid to say, though many have refused to say, that an al Qaeda network exists in Indonesia."

"I am convinced that there is a domestic link with al Qaeda," he said.

President Bush said he assumed the bombings were the work of al Qaeda and appeared to be part of a new pattern of attacks.

He cited the Bali bombings, the attack on a French supertanker off the coast of Yemen and attacks on US Marines in Kuwait as part of what appeared to be a concerted approach by the organization blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks.

"The attack in Bali appears to be an al Qaeda-type terrorist - definitely a terrorist attack, whether it's al Qaeda-related or not, I would assume it is.

"And therefore, it does look like a pattern of attacks that the enemy, albeit on the run, is trying to once again frighten and kill freedom-loving people," Bush told reporters in Washington.

A US intelligence official said the Bali bombings pointed to a "sophisticated" terrorist group because of the large amount of high explosives used and the coordination of the attacks.

Morgue Identification

Frustrated that months of warnings fell on deaf ears, neighbors have piled pressure on Jakarta to finally clamp down on Islamic extremists. The United States ordered all non-essential diplomats and all family members - 300 people in all - to leave Indonesia.

Distraught relatives leafed through photographs in a Bali morgue today to identify loved ones.

Australian survivors began streaming home through Sydney airport, some clutching surfboards and souvenirs as they fell sobbing into the arms of family and friends.

"It was like a war broke out. It was just fear," Leigh McGrath, 22, told reporters at Sydney airport, recalling the car bomb outside the Sari nightclub. "I don't think there will be many people going back to Bali."

Hundreds more frightened and injured tourists headed for Bali's airport to catch flights home. A few were in wheelchairs, others on crutches and swathed in bandages.

Terrorism Danger Is 'Real'

Bali police spokesman Yatim Suyatmo said that investigators "have names that would lead in some directions to solve this case."

"There are names which are linked [to the explosions] who could give information," he said, without giving any details.

Indonesia's foreign minister underlined an apparent hardening of resolve by telling reporters there was "no doubt" the country faced a terrorist threat.

"This has to be realized by all of us, including our political elites, that the danger is real and potential here," Hassan Wirajuda said after a meeting with foreign ambassadors.

The worst act of terror since Sept. 11, 2001 fanned fears that al Qaeda was regrouping after being dispersed from Afghanistan by a U.S.-led military campaign.

Malaysia on Alert

Predominantly Muslim Malaysia said it would watch nightspots popular with Westerners. The Philippines, battling a Muslim insurgency, put its police force on a nationwide alert over fears of further attacks in Southeast Asia.

Diplomats were watching for any moves against the Jemaah Islamiah group. Southeast Asian nations have rounded up scores of its members and warned that others have gone underground in Indonesia.

Several countries' intelligence agencies tie Jemaah Islamiah to regional terrorism and link it to al Qaeda. A key leader of Jemaah Islamiah has been identified as militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who runs a religious school in central Java.

Asked for his view of the Bali blast, he said: "It was a brutal act. I condemn such actions." Sunday, he had blamed the United States for the attack.

Stock Market Hammered

The Jakarta stock market dived more than 10 percent, partly on fears foreign investors will flee the world's fourth most populous nation.

"We're finished," said Aburizal Bakrie, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "Our defense to convince people that doing business in Indonesia is safe is finished."

Kuta is a playground for Australians who flock to its beaches for the sun and surf, and they took the brunt of the casualties. A total of 13 Australians were confirmed dead and 225 were unaccounted for.

A large number of Indonesians were among the 181 dead, many of whom have yet to be identified.

Other nationalities among the dead and more than 300 wounded were Americans, Britons, Dutch, Singaporeans, Swedes and Swiss.

Australia Declares Day of Mourning

The revelers in the Sari nightclub included rugby teams from around the region competing in an annual tournament.

Three members of the Singapore Cricket Club's rugby team were confirmed dead, of a squad of 17 mostly British expatriates. Five were still missing and four team members were in hospital in Singapore.

Simon Quayle, coach of Kingsley Senior Football Club, an amateur Australian Rules football team from Western Australia state, told reporters: "Realistically we expect most, or at least half, of all the blokes, to be located somewhere in that morgue."

Australia declared a day of mourning for what one politician called the worst loss of Australian life since World War II.

"What happened at the weekend claimed our own in great numbers, and on our own doorstep, and touched us in a way that we wouldn't have thought possible a week ago, or even three days ago," Prime Minister John Howard told parliament.

(China Daily October 15, 2002)

China Strongly Condemns Massacre on Bali Island
Bali Blast Clouds Chinese Travelers' Indonesian Tours
International Community Condemns Bali Bombing
Indonesian Nightclub Bomb Kills 187
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