Bombed Indonesia hotels re-open: spokeswoman

JAKARTA, July 29, 2009 (AFP) - Two luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital Jakarta which were struck by suicide bombers earlier this month re-opened Wednesday, a hotel spokeswoman said.

The JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels reopened less than two weeks after the twin blasts on July 17 killed seven people, most of them foreigners, Marriott spokeswoman Ina Ilmiaviatta said.

Construction workers walk past the front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta on July 29, 2009 the day it reopens for business. (AFP photo)

Marriott International manages both hotels.

"We have resumed our normal business operations today. We hope to be able to reach an average hotel occupancy of 60 to 70 percent like before, in spite of the bombings," she said.

"We have certainly increased our security measures, with some new approaches which I cannot tell you as they're confidential."

The two main areas damaged by the bombs -- a lounge in the Marriott and a restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton -- remain closed.

Police believe the bombings are likely the work of a radical splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional militant network led by Malaysian-born terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top.

Noordin, 44, allegedly masterminded a suicide truck bombing at the Marriott in 2003, as well as the 2004 suicide bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and 2005 suicide attacks on restaurants in Bali.

Those attacks killed 42 people, mainly Indonesians, injured hundreds and triggered the biggest manhunt in Indonesian history.

A woman detained in connection with the bombings has identified her husband as Noordin, who is believed to have taken refuge in a Central Javanese village, marrying the woman and having two children with her.

A police raid on the village just days before the Jakarta attack found bomb-making materials buried in the yard of his home in Cilacap district.

Source: AFP

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