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3rd bomb in Jakarta attack did not go off

THE suicide attackers who struck the Indonesian capital Jakarta last week planted a third bomb intended to send panicked crowds to hotel lobbies where the other bombs would explode, but the device's timer malfunctioned, police said yesterday.

The tactic, similar to that used by Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists in the Bali bombings, indicates that the attacks were intended to kill many more than the seven who died in the twin bombings at the two American-owned hotels.

The unexploded device -- a laptop computer filled with explosives and bolts -- was found on the 18th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel where the bombers had been staying and should have gone off first, said Ketut Untung Yoga of the national police.

"It is clear that the bomb found inside the hotel was equipped with a timer that shows the time of the (failed) explosion," Untung Yoga said. "It was supposed to explode before the other two."

Last Friday's near simultaneous blasts at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton killed seven and wounded more than 50, breaking a nearly four-year lull in terrorist activity in the country.

The two bombers, believed to have been associated with the regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, also died.

Many suspects have been nabbed in a nationwide manhunt that is also targeting Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top, blamed for four big blasts in Indonesia.

Jemaah Islamiyah used a combination of stationary, timed explosives and suicide bombers in the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings that killed more than 220 people.


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