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Shadowy group blamed for Jakarta blast

Jakarta, Aug. 9 (Reuters): The shadowy militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) was to blame for this week’s bombing of a US-run luxury hotel in Jakarta that killed 10 people, and many more of them were still in the country, Indonesia’s defence minister said.

As the investigation into the suicide bombing that killed 10 people and wounded 150 at the JW Marriott Hotel homed in on JI, the US said it expected more such attacks on “soft targets” in Indonesia and warned against travel to the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

“The US government believes extremist elements may be planning additional attacks targeting US interests in Indonesia,” the state department said in a new travel warning issued in response to Tuesday’s bombing that killed 10 and wounded 150 and for which JI has emerged as the chief suspect.

“As security is increased at official US facilities, terrorists will seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans and Westerners are known to live, congregate, shop, or visit”, the advisory said.

The Indonesian defence minister, Matori Abdul Djalil, said he was convinced JI was behind the bombing. A day earlier, national police chief D’ai Bachtiar said the hotel blast at the JW Marriott in Jakarta’s business district could be linked to the JI, seen as the southeast Asian arm of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida network. However, he stopped short of directly blaming JI for the attack. A trove of evidence had been gathered in the Jakarta bombing that pointed to JI, already blamed for last October’s Bali bombings and for numerous similar attacks across the sprawling archipelago.

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