In Bali, Terrorists Target Restaurants in Attacks that Kill 26

BALI, Indonesia -- Police raised the alert level for Indonesia's capital and the president warned of more attacks Sunday as a chilling video shot the day before showed a suspected bomber clutching a backpack and strolling past diners moments before one of three suicide bombings killed 26 people on Bali.

The near-simultaneous bombings on the resort island also injured 101 people, including six Americans.

The attacks apparently were planned by Southeast Asia's two most-wanted men, who are believed to be connected to the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, said Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian anti-terror official.

Fear of more attacks on tourists prompted Israel to warn its citizens Sunday not to travel to Egypt's Sinai desert during the upcoming month of Jewish holidays, saying it has information that Arab militants planning strikes against Israelis already are located in the resort area.

The alleged masterminds of the Bali attacks were believed to be Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top, both Malaysians who fled to Indonesia after a crackdown on militants following the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said.

The masterminds were not among the suspected bombers, whose remains were found at the scenes, officials said. All three bombers were believed to be wearing belts of explosives, police said.

Mbai said at least three other people were believed to be involved in the operation, and suspected they were still on Bali. He did not say whether they included the two Malaysian fugitives.

Mbai also said police believe the bombs were detonated by mobile phone.

Authorities have enlisted the help Nasir Abbas, a former Jemaah Islamiyah operative working as an informant, to help in the investigation. Abbas arrived on Bali two hours after the blasts, but it was unclear whether he had concluded a deal with police.

"Police are using him to help find which group is behind this operation, former terrorists can help give details," Mbai told The Associated Press.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned that terrorists could be planning more strikes in the world's most populous Muslim nation as Jakarta's police chief put the capital on top alert, with two-thirds of its police force on standby.

"The terrorists are still looking for soft targets," Yudhoyono said at a news conference after viewing the devastation.

Western and Indonesian intelligence agencies have warned repeatedly that Jemaah Islamiyah was plotting more attacks despite a string of arrests.

Last month, Yudhoyono said the extremist network might strike Jakarta during September or October. He explained Saturday that his warning was based on intelligence the terrorists had already prepared the explosives.

There were no claims of responsibility for Saturday night's coordinated attacks on two packed seafood cafes in the Jimbaran beach resort and the Raja Cafe noodle and steakhouse in the bustling tourist center of Kuta.

Video shot by a vacationer at the three-story Raja Cafe captured a suspected bomber in a black T-shirt walking past foreign and local tourists eating dinner, sipping drinks and chatting at candlelit tables.

The man clutches his backpack, adjusts it slightly, then walks out of view. Moments later there is an explosion from his direction, followed by gray smoke and terrified screams. Police said the video, obtained by Associated Press Television News, was part of the investigation.

Suspicion for the blasts fell on the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia and has been linked to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, and subsequent attacks on the J.W. Marriott hotel and the Australian Embassy that killed 22. Saturday's blasts occurred nearly three years to the day of the 2002 bombings, which also were in Kuta.

Scores of Jemaah Islamiyah suspects have been arrested in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand since 2002, leading some officials to say the group's leadership has been crippled. But analysts say the group appears to have taken on a different form, working with recruits from other organizations or groups.

"The JI is the only group with the intention and capability to mount an attack on Bali on such a coordinated level," said Singapore-based expert Rohan Gunaratna of the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.

"No other groups can carry out multiple attacks like that."

Like 2002, the bombings took place on the busiest night of the week, just as crowds began to swell.

The head waiter at the Menega Cafe in Jimbaran said the bomb went off at his beachside restaurant between the tables of two large dinner parties sitting in the sand. Most of the 120 diners at the restaurant were Indonesian, he said.

"Everyone started screaming, 'Allah! Allah! Help!"' said Wayan Subagia, 23, who suffered leg injuries. "One woman rushed to pick up her child but the little girl was already dead."

Another blast occurred at the nearby Nyoman seafood restaurant.

On Sunday, Yudhoyono visited Sanglah Hospital, near the island's capital city, Denpasar, where dozens of people, most of them Indonesian, waited in tears for news of friends and relatives missing since the attacks. Several coffins were carried out. One was for a child.

The dead included 12 Indonesians, an Australian and a Japanese man. Officials were trying to identify the nationalities of the other corpses in the morgue, a hospital statement said.

Bobby Nugroho, an Indonesian whose mother and father were killed, went to collect his parents' remains at the hospital's morgue.

"A witness said that my father was sitting, facing the beach when a man opened his jacket and pulled the trigger in front of him," said Nugroho, a Jakarta-based reporter in his late 20s who works for the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizan Shimbun.

It was unclear whether the death toll included the three suspected bombers.

The 101 wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Americans, six Koreans and four Japanese, officials said.

Saturday's attacks threaten to ruin a tourist boom on the mostly Hindu island, where hotels and restaurants have in the last 18 months reported that business topped pre-2002 levels, and they were looking forward to a busy Christmas and New Year's season. Some say it may take even longer to recover a second time around.

Veli-Matti Enqvist, 51, was one of hundreds of tourists waiting for flights at the airport.

"We were up all night trying to change our ticket," said Enqvist, who had been scheduled to leave Bali with his wife Wednesday. "We finally found something ... We're going."

Since the 2002 attacks, Jemaah Islamiyah has been tied to deadly bombings outside the Australian Embassy last year that killed 10 and a 2003 blast at the J.W. Marriott hotel that killed 12.

The United States and Australia contend that militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is the group's spiritual leader. The 67-year-old cleric, serving a two-year sentence for conspiracy in the 2002 attacks, is known for strong anti-Western and anti-Semitic views but has always maintained his innocence.

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Associated Press reporters Gillian Wong in Singapore and Meraiah Foley in Sydney, Australia, contributed to this report.

(c) 2005 Associated Press

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