Jakarta Bombers Raised Eyebrows before Attacks

(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
The suicide bombers responsible for two fatal hotel attacks in Jakarta were challenged by hotel staff after exhibiting suspicious behavior moments before detonating their bombs, according to a Bloomberg report Monday.

The joint attacks on the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in the Indonesian capital July 17 killed nine people, including the bombers. Authorities suspect al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible.

In the Marriott, security guards tried to question the bomber, who was wearing a red backpack on his chest and pulled a luggage trolley behind him, as he approached a room hosting a meeting of CastleAsia executives. He told guards he was delivering a case to his boss and detonated the bomb as soon as he entered the room, according to Alan Orlob, the global head of security for Marriott International, Inc., who happened to be at the hotel during the attacks.

"What can you do?" Orlob told Bloomberg. "He would have blown anyway. These guys have failsafe devices on the bombs and he would have killed the two security officers and anyone standing in the lobby."

At the Ritz, the attacker entered a restaurant for breakfast and told a worker there he was staying in room 2701 – an impossibility given there were only 26 floors in the hotel. After being asked for his name, the bomber said he would pay cash. He blew himself up as the waiter was getting him coffee.

An unexploded bomb was also found in room 1808 of the Marriott – believed to be the room the bombers were staying in – according to police.

The attacks highlight the need for international luxury hotels to provide increased security while not encroaching too much on guests' freedom.

Orlob said Marriott is looking at the possibility of using X-ray machines, bomb-sniffing dogs and entry barriers following the attacks.
  • Daniel Carty

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