From Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
Last Update: Tuesday, August 5, 2003. 11:30pm (AEST)
Police guard the damaged JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. (AFP)
At least 13 dead in Jakarta blast, Red Cross says
At least 13 people were killed and 149 others injured in a blast at the JW Marriott Hotel and surrounding buildings in Jakarta, the Indonesian Red Cross said.
Police had earlier said at least 10 people including three foreigners from Australia, Malaysia and the United States were killed and 74 others injured in the lunch-time explosion.
However, the Department of Foreign Affairs has advised that reports of an Australian national among the dead in the bombing is incorrect.
One Australian has been treated in hospital for minor injuries, and discharged.
Jakarta's governor Sidioto says the blast was very likely carried out by a suicide attacker.
There were eyewitness accounts of a car being driven up to the front of the upmarket Marriott Hotel and then exploding.
It happened during lunch hour. Flames and thick clouds of smoke billowed from the hotel lobby.
Cars and other vehicles were set ablaze and staff and guests evacuated.
Destroyed on the ground floor was a restaurant, a popular gathering point for western business visitors.
Indonesian Defence Minister Matori Abdul Jalil says the blast was caused by a bomb and was the work of terrorists.
Indonesian based security expert, Don Greenlees, says there is little doubt that Jemaah Islamiah is responsible for the bombing.
"It's a matter for speculation at the moment who the perpetrators are but this certain fits with Jemaah Islamiah's modus operandi and I think you'll find that police and government officials in Jakarta fairly quickly point the blame at Jemaah Islamiah," he said.
"I think it's too much of a coincidence to say that it would be any other group."
Smoke and flames continue to billow from the shattered foyer of the JW Marriott Hotel in the heart of Jakarta's diplomatic circle, with a number of cars burning outside the foyer.
Officials at the MNC Hospital say that among the scores of injured, one Australian has been treated and discharged.
Earlier, Jakarta police spokesman Prasetyo said only one foreigner was among the dead.
"Preliminary reports say eight people are dead including one foreigner," he said. "At least 83 people are seriously injured. Now they are in several hospitals."
Hospital officials say two Americans, two Singaporeans and a New Zealander are among the wounded.
'Like an earthquake'
Flames and thick clouds of smoke billowed from the lobby area of the hotel after the blast. Cars and other vehicles were set ablaze and staff and guests evacuated as hundreds of people milled around watching the carnage.
The hotel's windows were shattered for several floors.
"It was like an earthquake," the hotel's public relations manager, Mellani Solagratia, said.
The hotel was frequented by Australian and other western diplomats and Prime Minister John Howard stayed there earlier this year.
In recent weeks, Indonesian police have arrested suspected Jemaah Islamiah members, seizing a huge quantity of explosives in Samarang.
At the time, police said two bomb shipments in Jakarta remained to be found.
The explosion also comes just two days before a court is due to hand down the first verdict in the trials of Islamic militants accused of carrying out the bombing of two nightclubs on the Indonesian resort island of Bali last year.
The Bali bombing killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians. Authorities have blamed the Jemaah Islamiah organisation, which is accused of having links to the Al Qaeda network.
In other developments:
The Department of Foreign Affairs says reports of an Australian death in the Jakarta bombings is incorrect (Full Story)
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has visited the scene of the deadly car bomb in front of the five-star JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta. (Full Story)
The United States has urgently renewed its calls for Americans in Indonesia to adopt tighter personal security measures following a deadly bombing at the US-owned luxury JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta. (Full Story)
Prime Minister John Howard says Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers will assist with investigations into a blast at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. (Full Story)
A bombing at a US chain hotel in Jakarta which has killed at least 10 people is the fifth bomb attack in the Indonesian capital this year but the first to claim lives. (Full Story)
An Australian in Jakarta says the scene at the Marriott Hotel, which has been targeted in a car bomb attack, is "chaotic". (Full Story)