| A video image shows a foreign tourist reacting after the blast at Kuta Square in Bali. (Reuters)
Bali (Indonesia, Oct. 2 (Reuters): Suicide bombers were behind the three attacks in Bali, which killed as many as 26 people including western tourists, and wounded 122 others, the resort island’s police chief said today.
The bombs tore through restaurants packed with evening diners yesterday, two at outdoor seafood eateries on Jimbaran Beach and one at a steak bar at Kuta Beach in an area surrounded by shops and jammed with pedestrians, including children.
The attacks were the latest in a number of bomb blasts in Indonesia in recent years, several against western targets, which have hurt tourism and raised concerns among investors about security in the Muslim nation.
The nearly simultaneous explosions came almost three years after al Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiah militants bombed nightclubs in Bali, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
“We have reached a conclusion that they were suicide bombings,” Made Mangku Pastika told a news conference a day after the blasts.
“There is evidence that the explosive materials were attached to the body. If materials are attached to the body then that’s an indication of suicide bombing,” the police chief said, adding that the composition of the bombs included TNT and metal slugs.
“There are pieces from either a jacket or a bag that were attached to the bodies. The pieces from their torsos spattered to all directions.”
He said the severed heads of three people believed to be suicide bombers had been recovered, including one with the face intact. At least six people conspired to carry out the latest blasts, including the three suspected suicide bombers, he said.
“I am certain that there are others involved in this bombing. There are those who planned it, there were those making the arrangements, those preparing the bombs and those are the ones we must search for.”
“This is exactly like Paddy’s Club,” said Pastika, in an apparent reference to the more deadly nightclub bombings on the island in 2002 blamed on Jemaah Islamiah.
Security experts have said the latest strikes also bore the hallmarks of the group.
Earlier President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, after visiting the Kuta site, said suicide bombers were strongly suspected. Yudhoyono who finishes his first year in office later this month, pledged: “We will do more in our national effort in fighting terrorism. We will continue to conduct evaluation to ensure that our effort is proper to deter and combat terrorism.”