Thursday, July 16, 2009

Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Jakarta bombed

jakarta bombingSIX people, including four foreigners, have been killed and at least 18 people injured after bombs exploded in Jakarta.

One blast at the Ritz Carlton reportedly blew much of the facade away from the building.

A second explosion occurred at the JW Marriott Hotel, which was also targeted in a 2003 terrorist attack by Jemaah Islamiah which killed 12.

Australians are among at least 18 people injured in the near simultaneous blasts, with a New Zealand man also seriously injured.

"We know there are six victims, six who died and there are several others injured and we have evacuated them to hospital," Jakarta police spokesman Chrysnanda Dwilaksana said.

The explosions rocked the area around 8am local time.

The Manchester United soccer team was scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on July 18 and was booked to stay at the Ritz Carlton, said Azwan Karim, media officer for the Indonesia Football Association.

Melbourne man Steve, 39, who was staying in the nearby Ballajio apartments which backs onto the Ritz, said the area had been devastated.

"I can see the ground floor and the upper floor - the breakfast buffet area has exploded and there is glass everywhere," Steve told the Herald Sun.

He said he was having a shower at 7.45am local time when he heard a loud boom.

"There was a definite thump, I was getting out of the shower and I thought that's strange to have thunder at that time of the morning," he said.

He said five minutes later another boom occurred and he understood then that the incidents were terrorist attacks and the second blast was at the Marriott, also close by.

"There are lots of police in the streets," he said.

A father told 3AW radio his son had been injured in the blasts.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said they were working to confirm whether Australians were among the dead or injured.

Witnesses at the scene told Indonesia's Metro TV that the injured, including Indonesians and foreigners, were seen being taken away in ambulances.

"Some windows of the Ritz-Carlton building have been shattered, mostly on the lower section. I'm looking at it from my office," said Myra Junor, who works at a nearby building.

Debris and shattered glass littered the street outside, and ambulances were being shuttled into the area.

Alex Asmasubrata, who was jogging by the hotels, said he first heard a loud explosion at the Marriott. Five minutes later, a bomb followed at the Ritz.

He saw four bodies inside the Marriott, including one with its stomach blown out.

Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Jakarta bombed

Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels in Jakarta bombed

Witnesses said they saw injured people being evacuated by car from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the upscale Mega Kuningan business district in the centre of the city.

Police sealed off the area near the hotels, an AFP correspondent said. Windows had been blown out of a second-storey restaurant at the Ritz Carlton.

"I heard two sounds like 'boom, boom' coming from the Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton. Then I saw people running out," security guard Eko Susanto told AFP.

Witness Intan told TV One one of the explosions wrecked the lobby of the Plaza Mutiara building.

"I was having breakfast on level 16, I heard an explosion and went down to the first floor and it was a mess. I saw foreigners all bloody, about three to five of them, badly wounded," she said.

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