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Terrorists Detonate Bombs in Indonesian Hotels

Suicide bombers rocked two luxury hotels in Jakarta Friday morning just as guests were gathering for breakfast. Kwame Holman reports on the bombings that killed eight and injured more than 50.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And still to come on the NewsHour tonight: the NAACP at 100; a health care update; and Shields and Brooks.

    That all follows the suicide bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia. Eight people were killed; more than 50 wounded at two American luxury hotels.

    NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman narrates our story.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    The near-simultaneous explosions happened shortly before 8 a.m., as guests were packing the hotel restaurants for breakfast. The first of the two bombs detonated at the J.W. Marriott in central Jakarta.

    Grainy footage from closed-circuit TV showed a man walking across the lobby and, seconds later, the flash of the explosion. Two minutes later, a second blast at the main restaurant in the neighboring Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

    Windows in both hotels were blown out, and debris and glass were scattered on the streets outside, where shaken guests and onlookers gathered.

  • WITNESS (through translator):

    It was so big, especially at the Marriott. There was suddenly white smoke in the air, and then about, five minutes later, the Ritz-Carlton got hit.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    There were reports at least two Australians and a New Zealander were among the dead, and nearby hospitals quickly filled with the wounded. Many were foreigners, including eight Americans, plus Australians and at least 10 other nationalities.

    The Marriott is the same hotel that was targeted six years ago, when a car bombing killed 12. Since then, the building has been reinforced, and most foreign hotels in the city have stepped up security.

    But today, police said it appeared the attackers were posing as guests. Investigators found an unexploded bomb on the Marriott's 18th floor, where the suspects had been staying since Wednesday.

    Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed to arrest those responsible.

    SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, president, Indonesia (through translator): This terrorist action is thought to be the work of a terrorist group, even though it is not certain whether this is the terrorism which we are familiar with up until now. Today marks a black spot in our history: once again, an attack or bombing by terrorists in Jakarta.