JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian television station on Monday named a likely suspect in the suicide bombings of two luxury hotels in Jakarta, saying he had school links to members of the radical Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah.
Police are still investigating Friday’s attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta’s main business district which killed nine people and injured 53, including foreigners and Indonesians. Jemaah Islamiah is a prime suspect. The bombers checked into the Marriott as paying guests on Wednesday and assembled the bombs in their room, 1808 on the 18th floor, according to police. A third bomb was found and defused in a laptop computer bag in room 1808.
A police source told Reuters on Monday that one theory the police are working on is that the bombers planned to detonate the bomb on the 18th floor first, sending panicking guests rushing down to the lobby where one of the suicide bombers would detonate a second bomb, potentially killing and injuring many more guests.
So far, the police have only identified one of the attackers as “N” but have not given further details.
But MetroTV, a private station, on Monday went further and named a suspect as a man named Nurhasbi whose family said he had not returned home and they had been unable to contact him by telephone.
The family also said Nurhasbi had attended the Ngruki Islamic boarding school in Solo, Central Java, graduating in 1995.
Ngruki is the Islamic boarding school run by militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir and attended by several members of Jemaah Islamiah, the group responsible for a string of deadly attacks in Jakarta and on the resort island of Bali.
Local media reported that police had also visited Nurhasbi’s family, possibly to assist in DNA tests as they try to identify bodies at the scene of the blasts.
The two bombs ended a four-year lull in such acts of violence and carried the hallmarks of Jemaah Islamiah, security analysts and police said, in particular of a breakaway faction led by Malaysian extremist Noordin Top.
The method and the equipment used were the same as in the Bali attacks in 2002 and 2005, and the bomb equipment used was similar to some that police recently found during raids in Cilacap, Central Java, police said.
Top has been blamed for previous attacks on foreigners and Western targets such as bars and hotels.
Writing by Sara Webb; Editing by Sugita Katyal