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2005 Bali bombing

The 2005 Bali bombings were a series of explosions that occurred on October 1, 2005, in Bali, Indonesia. Bombs exploded at two sites in Jimbaran and Kuta, both in south Bali. Twenty-three people were killed, including three bombers.

The moment a bomb detonated in a restaurant

The explosions
Prior warnings
See also

The explosions

The Indonesian national news agency, ANTARA, reported that the first two explosions occurred at 6:50 p.m. local time, near a Jimbaran food court and the third at 7:00 p.m. in Kuta Town Square. Other reports claim that the blasts occurred at around 7:15 p.m. At least 3 blasts have been reported.

One of the blasts is thought to have struck a crowded main square at central Kuta. Another two bombs exploded at warungs along the Jimbaran beach, one of which was near the Four Seasons Hotel. These areas are generally popular with Western tourists (CNA). Police claimed they found three unexploded bombs in Jimbaran.

According to Indonesia's head of counter-terrorism, Major General Ansyaad Mbai, early evidence indicates that the attacks were carried out by at least three suicide bombers in a similar fashion to the 2002 bombings. The remnants of backpacks and excessively mutilated bodies are believed to be evidence of suicide bombings. There remains also a possibility that backpacks were hidden inside the target restaurants before detonation.  Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said that the bombs used appear to have differed from previous blasts in that most deaths and injuries had been inflicted by shrapnel, rather than chemical explosion. A medical officer's x-rays showed foreign objects described as "pellets" in many victims' bodies and a victim reported ball bearings lodged in her back.

The bombings occurred the same day that Indonesia cut its fuel subsidies resulting in gas prices rising by 125% and just two days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and 11 days before the third anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombing. The attack came during the school holiday period in some states of Australia, when an estimated 7,500 Australians are believed to have been visiting Bali.


Victims of the Bali bombs in a makeshift morgue

Casualities of Bali bombings on October 1, 2005

South Korean
Total *
* figures above do not include ther 3 suicide bombers

The latest report cites 20 dead and between 101 to 129 injured. Some earlier reports put the number of fatalities as between 26 to 36 people, but those figures have since been lowered. Among those killed are 15 Indonesians, 4 Australians, and a Japanese national, not counting the 3 suicide bombers. The wounded included many Indonesians, 19 Australians, 6 South Koreans, 6 Americans, 4 Japanese, 3 Canadians and 1 Briton. As there were no records at the hospitals or morgues on the locations from where the victims arrived, it is not possible to determine the casualty figures at each blast location separately.

Most of the casualties were sent to Bali's Sanglah General Hospital, and mostly treated for injuries caused by broken glass. Others were sent to Griya Asih Hospital.  As in the 2002 bombings, some of the injured, primarily foreign nationals, are being evacuated to medical facilities in Australia and Singapore. The most severely injured were evacuated to Singapore, while other casualties, among them Australians, Japanese and an Indonesian, were evacuated to treatment in Darwin, Australia aboard Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules.
Following the 2002 Bali bombings, in which more Australians than any other nationals were killed and injured, and the 2004 bombing of Australia's Embassy in Jakarta, the latest attacks received extensive coverage in Australia and were denounced by some officials, such as Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, as an attack on Australians.

Prior warnings

Indonesian authorities were expecting such an event, after the Indonesian President warned of more bombings within the country, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs had issued warnings two days before the event. However, the Australian Government has claimed that it received no specific prior warning of a terrorist attack being imminent in Bali. Minister Downer has also played down any knowledge of specific signs of the potential event, despite the DFAT warning on the last day of September.  DFAT has warned Australians against non-essential travel to Indonesia since before the 2002 attacks - a warning still in effect. The Department advises travellers against congregating in areas popular with Western tourists.

In May of 2005, the US State Department issued a Travel Warning against non-essential trips to Indonesia, the travel warning was last updated November 18th, 2005.

A Philippine security official said that for months intelligence officials in Southeast Asia had received information that the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group was orchestrating a major strike, possibly in the Philippines or Indonesia, but were unable to uncover the plot's details in time to prevent it.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's National News Radio network reported on October 3 that several Australian tourists had heard rumours about a planned bombing, prompting Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley to urge the Australian government to form closer intelligence ties with Indonesia.


Suspected bomber Azahari Husin
Suspected bomber Noordin Mohammed Top
From video footage obtained by Associated Press
Azahari Husin
(Source: Royal Malaysia Police)
Noordin Mohammed Top
(Source: Royal Malaysia Police)
Video footage captures one of the suspected bombers (circled) walking past diners moments before one of the blasts.

The attacks bear the hallmarks of the active terrorist network Jemaah Islamiah (JI), an organisation linked to Al-Qaeda, which is believed to be responsible for several bombings in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing. Islamist terrorist groups are often noted for their repeated choice of site for bombings. Al-Qaeda struck the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001; they also attacked the same location in 1993. Rohan Gunaratna, head of terrorism research at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, told Agence France-Presse that "The only group that has the intention and capability to mount a coordinated and simultaneous attack against a western target in Indonesia is Jemaah Islamiyah."

Although a link to JI has not yet been confirmed, the bombings were quickly condemned as terrorist attacks by the authorities. Police Major General Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian anti-terrorism official, told the Associated Press that the bombings "were clearly the work of terrorists". Major General Mbai identified Malaysian men, already wanted in connexion to previous bombings in Indonesia, as the suspected masterminds of the attacks. The chief suspect was Azahari Husin, a member of JI who was an engineering expert and former academic with a doctorate from University of Reading (late 1980s). Husin was nicknamed the "Demolition Man" and was thought to collaborate with the second suspect: Noordin Mohammed Top, a bomb maker whose wife was sentenced to three years gaol for harbouring him.  Azahari was killed in a police raid in November 2005, while Noordin remains on the run.

Motivations for the bombings remain unclear. Some, such as the Australian Prime Minister, have suggested the attacks were intended to undermine Indonesia's moderate democractic government. Moreover, media organisations have suggested that the attack was planned to correspond with massive fuel price increases in Indonesia, so as to maximise economic and political damage. On the contrary, Dr Sidney Jones, of the International Crisis Group, believes that it was not an attempt to undermine democracy "per se", but rather an example of jihadist extremism: "I think they very much see the world in a black and white way, us against them, Muslims against infidels... [They see] that the infidels led by the United States as part of a Christian-Zionist conspiracy are out to persecute and attack and eliminate Muslims around the world, and therefore, [they] have to fight back." However, in common with the Prime Minister, Dr Jones believes the attack was indiscriminate and not an attack on Australians "per se". She suggested Bali was selected as the site of the attacks because there was less chance of Indonesian Muslims being killed, and there was "a chance of getting a few foreigners".

Following the attacks Abu Bakar Bashir, who is alleged to be JI's spiritual leader, released a statement from his prison cell, condemning the attack. But he added that the bombings were a sign of God's displeasure with the Indonesian government. He said: "I suggest the government bring themselves closer to God by implementing his rules and laws because these happenings are warnings from God for all of us." Bashir's statement does reveal some discontent with the current moderate Indonesian Government, lending credence to the theory that the bombings were an attempt to undermine it.


Pictures of the heads of suspected bombers were published in the Jakarta Post8
From The Jakarta Post, October 3, 2005

Indonesian police believed that three suicide bombers carried out the bombings. A presidential spokesman Dino Djalal said that the police found a total of "six legs and three heads but no middle bodies, and that's the strong sign of suicide bombers." Photos of the three heads were published in The Jakarta Post on Monday, October 3, 2005. Initially, there were conflicting reports on the number of bombs; but later, the police confirmed only three bombs.

An amateur video capturing the scene at the restaurant in Kuta showed one bomber with a backpack walking inside just seconds before a huge explosion.

In the following Monday, on October 3, 2005, the police issued an appeal to the public to help identify the suspected suicide bombers whose dismembered remains were found at the scene. Photos of the dead suspects were distributed widely and a hotline was set up to receive tips.
According to Banten Police Chief Senior Commissioner Badrodin Haiti, the Indonesian police are seeking for five members of a ring led by Imam Samudra, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings. Three of the five men had already served jail sentences for holding explosives belonging to Samudra. They were under police surveillance but had now disappeared from their homes.

On October 9, 2005, police in Bali arrested a man, identified by the initial HS, who is allegedly a former roommate of one of the suicide bomber.


 — President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has condemned the blasts as a "criminal act" and has called for an urgent meeting with Indonesian security officials. He will be visiting the tourist resort island, but it is still unclear at this moment about when the President will arrive at the island. He vowed that those responsible will be caught, saying "We will hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice." (ANTARA), (BBC)

Indonesia — Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS., State Intelligence Agency Head Syamsir Siregar and Police Chief General Sutanto have been instructed by the Indonesian President to leave for Bali on the evening of 1 October 2005. (ANTARA)

Indonesia — Vice-President Jusuf Kalla told the BBC that the government is uncertain of the group responsible for these attacks.


China — Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a message to his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirajuda expressing the Chinese government's condolences for the victims of the bombings and conveying the sympathy for their family members. China strongly condemned the terrorist act and would continue to support the Indonesian government's efforts to combat terrorism and maintain domestic stability.

India — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that these kind of stupid acts by terrorists won't shatter the spirit of fighting against terrorism. He said terrorism can be brought to an end only by proving to the so called "Warriors for the Sake" that the general masses are not scared. He strongly condemned the attack and expressed his deepest sympathies and condolence messages to the families of the victims. (HT)

Japan — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi criticized the bombings as "scurvy and impermissible acts that cannot be justified regardless of the reason,"

Japan — Foreign Ministry spokesman Yoshinori Katori denounced the bomb blasts. He said that "the government of Japan reiterates its firm condemnation of atrocious terrorism that victimizes many innocent people," and added that "terrorism cannot be justified for any reason."

South Korea — Foreign Ministry stated "Such terrorists acts against humanity cannot be justified in any way," the ministry said in a statement. "South Korea will join hands with the international community in fighting with terrorism. We hope the Indonesian people can recover from the impact and sadness brought by the bombings as soon as possible,"

Malaysia - Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said "I hope the Indonesian authorities will investigate and get the perpetrators" . Expressing his condolences to the families of the dead and injured, the Prime Minister said he was deeply saddened by the violence in the tourist resort island.

Philippines — President Gloria Arroyo said "We sympathize with the victims' families and reaffirm our partnership with Indonesia against terror". She has ordered a tightening of security measures in the Philippines.

Singapore — Foreign Minister George Yeo condemned the Bali bomb attacks and expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims. He said the latest attack was a reminder that although terrorist groups have been weakened, they remained a threat to our societies. (CNA)

Singapore — Two hospitals, Singapore General Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital, are treating victims from the blasts. The injured were being flown in by a medical assistance company International SOS. Singapore has also sent two doctors, two nurses and two paramedics to Bali to help treat victims of the blasts. 


 United States — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "The United States condemns the terrorist bombings today in Bali that claimed innocent lives and injured many more. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured," and that "The United States stands with the people and government of Indonesia as they work to bring to justice those responsible for these acts of terrorism. We will continue to work together in our common fight against terror." 

 Canada — Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew said that "Canada strongly condemns this terrorist act, and we are deeply troubled by such incidents. On behalf of all Canadians, we extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families," and that "While the details are still unfolding, this is clearly an act directed against innocent civilians. The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. Canada condemns all acts of terrorism and is committed to working with Indonesia in the fight against international terrorism."


 France — President Jacques Chirac said in a letter to the Indonesian President that the "news of the terrible attack that ripped through Bali has stunned and saddened me," and that "France in the strongest possible way condemns these hateful acts."

 France — Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said French officials were "deeply moved by the series of explosions that hit the island of Bali at the end of the day, making many victims among the island population."

 Germany — Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer denounced "in the strongest possible terms the despicable attacks in Bali."

 Russia — President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over loss of life in the barbaric terror attacks on Bali Island. He wrote: "the recent bombings provide one more proof of the fact that international terrorism is a global threat and that the world community must be irreconcilable and resolute, and take all measures to uproot this threat".

United Kingdom — Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned the attacks saying that "we (the United Kingdom) stand by Indonesia at this very difficult time," and that "our thoughts are with the victims and their families".


 South Africa President Thabo Mbeki said "The government and people of South Africa express their unequivocal condemnation of the series of bombings in [Indonesia] today, in which a number of people were killed and many others maimed and wounded,"


 Australia — Prime Minister John Howard said "I see it very much as part of an ongoing attempt by terrorists to undermine democratic Indonesia." He said that Australia would help in Indonesia's response to the attacks.

 Australia — Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has condemned the bombings saying "I'm sure that I speak on behalf of all Australians, we just utterly condemn this vicious, evil act by our enemies in the South-East Asian region, Jemaah Islamiah or whoever is immediately behind this." He also offered condolences to victims saying "Our hearts are with the families, of the bereaved, and the suffering, and the sense of grief and enormous discomfort and concern that they now feel".

 Australia — Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, who was holidaying in Bali at the time of the bombings, has visited injured Australians being treated in hospital. He praised the work of doctors who have been treating victims.

 Australia — Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd has called the attacks "revolting beyond description".

 Australia — Australia has dispatched Australian Federal Police officers and forensic experts, including those who assisted in 2002, to aid the investigation. Qantas is also dispatching two special flights to Bali to help evacuate Australians wishing to leave the island.

 New Zealand — Prime Minister Helen Clark said such "callous and cold-blooded" acts "are an affront to humanity." She said New Zealand would offer whatever help Indonesia requires.

Multinational Organisations

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that he "is dismayed that Bali has yet again been the scene of terrorist outrage almost three years after the attacks of October 2002," and that he "sends [my] deepest sympathy to the injured and the bereaved of many nationalities as well as to the Indonesian government."

Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) — The inter-governmental organization denounced the deadly bombings. In a statement, OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that Bali attacks were "terrorist acts which totally contradict the teachings of Islam... and harm Islamic values which call for tolerance and coexistence."

See also

Indonesia frees Abu Bakar Bashir
Abu Bakar Bashir
2002 Bali bombing
Indonesia frees Abu Bakar Bashir
7 July 2005 London bombings
Attack on London
Response to the 2005 London bombings
America will lose this war
Where does terrorism start - an academic view
Conspiracy theory