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US Embassy cancelled the booking of Marriott Hotel 4.5 hours before explosion

August 6 2003
Translated from http://www.detik.com/peristiwa/2003/08/05/20030805-183447.shtml

US Embassy cancelled the booking of Marriott Hotel 4.5 hours before the explosion.

There was something interesting happened just hours before the explosion shocked the JW Marriott Hotel, Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta. The US Embassy cancelled the booking of 10-20 rooms in that hotel. The cancellation was on 8.00 West Indonesian Time, Tuesday, or only 4.5 hours before the explosion.

This information is from employee of Marriot Hotel who refused to be identified. He explained that the booking was made several days ago. The US Embassy's guests were planned to stay for 3 days. And the ceremony was planned on Wednesday.

For information, when there was the explosion, the security of US Embassy directly came to the Marriot Hotel in Mega Kuningan. JW Marriot Hotel is known to be used frequently by US Embassy. On 4 July 2003, the Independent Day of US was celebrated on this hotel. Last year, it was also celebrated there.

Sound strange? Read this next article for details on how the hotel was evacuated before the blast:


Sky News

August 05, 2003

At least 14 people have died and more than 150 have been injured in a car bomb attack at a luxury tourist hotel in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Indonesian police said the attack was "similar" to last year's Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people.

The blast at the US-owned JW Marriott Hotel was described as a "huge explosion" and ripped through the 33-storey building, shattering windows several floors above the ground floor and scattering rubble and debris.

Police said a Dutch man was among the dead while two Americans, two Singaporeans, an Australian and a New Zealander among those hurt. The official Antara news agency said 111 people were injured, many seriously.

The attack comes as the trial draws to a close of an Islamic militant who is accused of being behind last year's Bali bombings.

Police said the explosion came from the basement and was a car bomb - but it was too early to say whether the van contained a suicide bomber.

Hotel bosses said staff and guests had been evacuated before the blast, which happened during the busy lunch hour.

Several floors of the hotel were damaged and windows blown out. Two badly burned bodies were left on the hotel forecourt, witnesses said.

"One of my windows was shattered by the force and I live on the 30th floor. We took the staircase to descend," said Madina Sar-Diarra, who lives in an apartment on top of the hotel.

"It was a panic and once downstairs, I saw several injured people, especially cooks of the restaurant, covered in blood.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri toured the scene just hours after the blast but left without comment.

Earlier, she called for greater vigilance in all government departments to prevent further attacks.

The hotel is popular with foreign tourists, businessmen and politicians because it is located near several embassies in a business complex.

October's Bali bombings killed more than 212 people, mainly foreign holidaymakers.

The trial of militant Amrozi bin Nurhashym, who is accused of masterminding the attack, is expected to end on Thursday after several weeks.

If found guilty he could be sentenced to death.

He is a member of Jemaah Islamiah, an Islamic group seeking to set up a pan-Islamic state in southeast Asia.

The group is accused of having links to al Qaeda and had threatened to carry out more attacks in Indonesia.

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