Jakarta Bombers Trained With Al Qaeda

The perpetrators of the deadly car bombing at Jakarta's Marriott Hotel (search) trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Indonesia's defense minister said, adding that there are many more terrorists still in the country.

"Each one of them has special abilities received from training in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Matori Abdul Djalil said late Friday.

He said the bombers were linked to a group of people arrested last month in the eastern town of Semarang and alleged to be members of the Al Qaeda linked Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (search).

"There are many more Jemaah Islamiyah members on the loose in Indonesia ... Because of this I am sure that JI is behind all of this," he said.

Matori said the terror group was behind both Tuesday's Marriott blast, which killed 10 people and injured 150, and the Oct. 12 Bali (search) nightclub bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Matori made his comments to reporters in the eastern city of Makassar (search). A tape of the comments reached The Associated Press on Saturday.

Pakistan does not dispute allegations that the perpetrators of the bombing were trained there, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan complained Saturday that Indonesian authorities have not shared intelligence about the suspects.

"If the Indonesian government had a lead on the training of the terrorists, they should share it with us so that we could further intensify our action," Khan said in a statement.

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Samad said he wouldn't be surprised if the perpetrators trained in the country.

"We all know that hundreds if not thousands of terrorists used Afghanistan as a training ground... And certainly some of those people are scattered around the world today," Samad said.

Terrorists from at least 40 countries trained in camps in Afghanistan before the Taliban's ouster in October 2001, he said.

In Indonesia last month, police seized four bags of TNT, 25 sacks of potassium chlorate and more than 1,000 detonators from Jemaah Islamiyah members in Semarang (search), Central Java — cache that had the potential to cause more carnage than the Bali explosions. This cell also had a list of potential targets in Jakarta — including the area where the Marriott was located.

Matori said that nine suspects arrested during the raid helped plan the Marriott bombing.

Meanwhile, the United States warned that extremists may be planning more attacks against American interests in Indonesia.

"The potential remains throughout Indonesia for violence and terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests," the U.S. State Department said on its Web site Saturday.

The State Department said it would increase security at its official facilities but warned citizens that terrorists will likely seek "softer targets."

Indonesian national police spokesman Zainuri Lubis said Saturday guards with M-16 rifles and shotguns would be deployed to protect commercial buildings across the country.

"It is our obligation to secure American interests because it is also in our nation's interest," he said.

Authorities have already said Jakarta's hotel attack was similar to last October's Bali blasts.

The perpetrators of both attacks used the same kind of explosives and tried to scrape off the identification numbers on the vehicles used. Police believe the Marriott bombers used a mobile phone to detonate the bomb — a method also used in the Bali attack.

The severed head of a suspected suicide bomber, Asmar Latin Sani, was found in the wreckage at the hotel. Authorities said a photograph of Sani's head was identified by two alleged Jemaah Islamiyah operatives in custody — and the two men admitted to recruiting him.

Police spokesman Edward Aritonang said authorities are not dismissing a claim from another al-Qaida linked group — the Abu Hafs el-Masri Brigades — that claimed responsibility for the attack in a letter to London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arab.

The Abu Hafs el-Masri Brigades described the attack as "a strong slap in the face of America and its agents in Islamic Jakarta, which has been cursed by the dirty American and the bold and racist Australian presence."

There was no way to confirm the claim of responsibility by the previously unknown cell. Abu Hafs el-Masri was the alias of Mohammad Atef, a top lieutenant of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden who was killed by U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan in November 2001.

Jemaah Islamiyah is accused of plotting or carrying out attacks in several Southeast Asian nations. An Indonesian court on Thursday issued the first verdict in the October 2002 Bali bombings, sentencing to death Amrozi bin Nurhasyim for buying a van and explosives used in the attack. His lawyers said they would appeal.

Thirty-three other suspected Jemaah members are on trial or awaiting trial in the Bali attack.

Late Friday, mourners packed into a hospital room in Jakarta for a memorial service for the only foreigner killed in the Marriott blast: Hans Winkelmolen, general manager of Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank.

Winkelmolen was due to be replaced by Canadian Tony Costa — who was also injured in the Marriott explosion. Costa was treated in Singapore for smoke inhalation and chest pains.