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14-10-02, 17:33
Indonesia Links Al Qaeda to Bali Blasts
October 14, 2002 09:17 AM ET
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By Dean Yates and Joanne Collins

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia linked the al Qaeda network to the Bali bomb explosions that killed 181 people, conceding for the first time Monday the group was operating in the Muslim country.

And in a sign that an investigation into the blasts was making progress, police said they had names of individuals connected to the attacks.

Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil told reporters the blasts were the work of professionals.

That is why, he said, "I am not afraid to say, though many have refused to say, that an al Qaeda network exists in Indonesia."

"I am convinced that there is a domestic link with al Qaeda," he said. Djalil's comments appear designed to head off criticism from Indonesia's neighbors that it is not doing enough to combat terrorism.

Frustrated that months of warnings fell on deaf ears, those neighbors have piled pressure on Jakarta to finally clamp down on Islamic militants suspected of being behind the attacks on nightclubs along Bali's Kuta Beach packed with foreign tourists.

The United States ordered all non-essential diplomats and all family members -- about 300 people -- to leave Indonesia.

Monday, distraught relatives leafed through photographs in a Bali morgue to identify loved ones.

Australian survivors of Saturday's explosions began streaming home through Sydney airport, some clutching surfboards and souvenirs as they fell sobbing into the arms of family and friends.

"It was like a war broke out. It was just fear," Leigh McGrath, 22, told reporters at Sydney airport, recalling the car bomb outside the Sari nightclub. "I don't think there will be many people going back to Bali."

Hundreds more frightened and injured tourists headed for Bali's airport to catch flights home. A few were in wheelchairs, others on crutches and swathed in bandages.


Bali police spokesman Yatim Suyatmo told Reuters investigators "have names that would lead in some directions to solve this case."

"There are names which are linked (to the explosions) who could give information," he said, without giving any details.