Published January 13, 2015
Police recovered bomb scraps — including pellets, batteries, cables and detonators — that might yield clues about who masterminded the deadly attacks on three restaurants on the resort island of Bali (search), officials said Tuesday.
Investigators also found shreds of a black bag, scraps of jeans and two wallets — all believed to be used by the suicide bombers, whose severed heads were found up to 20 yards from the scene, said police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sunarko Danu Artanto.
Tracking down the masterminds hinges on identifying the attackers, said Maj. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika, the Bali police chief, who made another urgent public appeal for help.
Macabre photos of the bombers' severed heads — bruised and swollen but remarkably well-preserved — have been circulated nationwide, but no one has come forward with information.
Indonesian officials had earlier said the near-simultaneous bombings that killed 22 people and wounded 104 others apparently were planned by Malaysian fugitives Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top — key figures in the al-Qaida-linked regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.
The organization, terror experts say, has been decimated by a series of arrests since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, but may have formed alliances with other organizations or individuals.
Pastika said Tuesday it was too early to directly blame Azahari and Noordin — or Jemaah Islamiyah (search).
"We still do not know that," he told reporters, adding that investigators' first priority was identifying the three bombers, who wore explosives — packed with ball bearings and other shrapnel — around their waists or in bags over their shoulders. The blasts destroyed their torsos, but left their heads relatively undamaged.
Once the suspects are identified, "we can trace which group they're from," he told reporters.
Sidney Jones, an expert on Indonesian Islamic terrorist groups, said the types of explosives used in the Bali bombing should be compared with materials used in other attacks, since such analysis could yield vital clues about which groups are involved.
Investigators have announced hot line numbers for phoned-in tips.
"We need the participation of all people in Indonesia," Pastika said. "The pictures of them (the attackers) are clear, and they are easy to recognize."
Meanwhile, Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir (search), the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, condemned Saturday's blasts, saying he opposed attacks on peaceful places like Bali.
But Bashir also warned that the suicide bombings were signs that God was displeased with Indonesia's rulers.
"I suggest the government bring themselves closer to God by implementing his rules and laws because these happenings are warnings from God for all of us," said Bashir, who has campaigned for implementing Islamic law, or Shariah, in Indonesia.
Bashir, serving a 30-month sentence after being convicted of conspiracy in the deadly Bali bombings of 2002, made his comments in a statement read by his chief lawyer, Muhammad Mahendradata.
Pastika said two men were taken in for questioning on Saturday, but have not been officially named as suspects. Sunarko described them as possible pickpockets. Thirty-nine witnesses also have been questioned, he said.
Death tolls in the attacks have varied because the blasts dismembered the bodies, making them difficult to count.
Sanglah, the main hospital treating the victims, said the death toll was 29. A police spokesman, Maj. Gen. Aryanto Budihardjo, told reporters in the capital that 22 had been killed, including the three bombers.
Fourteen Indonesians, two Australians and one Japanese man were among the dead.
Officials were trying to identify the nationalities of the other corpses.
The wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Americans, six Koreans, and four Japanese.