BALI, Indonesia – Bombs exploded almost simultaneously Saturday in two tourist areas of the Indonesian resort island of Bali, killing at least eight people and wounding 13 others, police and hospital officials said.
The victims included foreign tourists.
The blasts at Jimbaran beach and a bustling outdoor shopping center in downtown Kuta “were clearly the work of terrorists,” police Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, a top Indonesian anti-terrorism official, told The Associated Press.
A receptionist at the Graha Asih Hospital close to Jimbaran Bay said at least eight bodies were in the morgue, and doctors were treating at least 13 other people.
“It’s a horrible scene,” the receptionist, Komang, said.
The blasts came nearly three years to the day that bombings blamed on the al-Qaida-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, in Kuta.
The latest bombs went off at about 7:30 p.m. at two restaurants packed with foreign and Indonesian diners.
I Wayan Kresna said he witnessed the first bomb at a seafood restaurant on Jimbaran beach. He counted at least two dead and said many others were brought to a hospital.
“I helped lift up the bodies,” he told the private El Shinta radio station. “There was blood everywhere.”
Another explosion hit the Raja restaurant in a bustling outdoor shopping center of Kuta, about 18 miles away. All three stories of the building were badly damaged.
The exact number of blasts were not clear. Some witnesses said they heard at least two explosions at each location.
Since the 2002 Bali blasts, Jemaah Islamiyah has been tied to at least two other bombings in Indonesia, both in the capital, Jakarta. Those blasts, one at the J.W. Marriott hotel in 2003 and the other outside the Australian Embassy in 2004, killed at least 23.
Western and Indonesian intelligence agency have consistently warned the group was plotting more attacks. Last month, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was especially worried the extremist network was about to carry out more attacks.