Terrorists set off a bomb at the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. At least nine people were killed and one-hundred-eighty wounded. In a statement condemning the bombing, President George W. Bush said, “This is yet another attack against civilized people everywhere.”
Authorities in both Indonesia and Australia suspect the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah of carrying out the attack. This Islamic extremist group, affiliated with al-Qaida, was responsible for the October 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which killed more than two-hundred people. Among the dozens of other Jemaah Islamiyah attacks in Indonesia in recent years was the August 2003 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed twelve Indonesians. Jemaah Islamiyah is committed to establishing an extremist Islamic state in southeast Asia covering the territory of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the southern Philippines.
At the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that Jemaah Islamiyah appears to have been responsible for the September 9th attack:
“. . .from both talking to the Indonesians and from talking to our intelligence and police, this was more likely than not to have been an atrocity perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiyah.”
Steven Pike, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, pointed out that the attack on Australia’s embassy in the Indonesian capital came nearly two years after the disastrous Bali bombings:
“Since that time, the governments of these two nations have taken, together and separately, a courageous, principled, and steadfast approach to combating the scourge of terrorism. We salute what they have done, and they no doubt will do, to bring the perpetrators of this latest horrific act to justice.”
Since the Bali bombings of 2002, the Indonesian government has arrested more than one-hundred-thirty-five people on suspicion of terrorism and convicted more than eighty of them. The U.S. stands ready to assist the governments of Indonesia and Australia in any way it can.