JAKARTA ATTACKS

Al Qaeda Group Suspected

The twin bombings that killed at least eight people at the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott in Jakarta on Friday may have been the work of a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda, reports ABC News. Jemaah Islamiya is "the only group intent and capable to pull off an attack like this," a terrorism expert told ABC. The group's chief bomb maker, Noordin Top, is at large and was rumored to be preparing a new attack. Top and his group are believed to be behind the Bali disco bombing in 2002 and an earlier attack on the same JW Marriott. Friday's attacks reportedly caught the U.S. intelligence community off guard, as they had thought the group was dismantled after many of its leaders had been imprisoned. But The Australian reports that at least 100 JI members have been recently released from jail, and experts categorize them now as "homegrown" terrorists operatives who don't conform to a single profile. Jakarta police are probing whether the attacks have anything to do with opposition to the July 8th election, as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono acknowledged that the attacks were an act of terrorism, and has issued an investigation. Leaders from the European Union, Britain, and Australia have all condemned the attacks. On a refueling stop in Prague on her way to India, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered sympathy to the victims and their families, saying that the attacks reflect the "the viciousness of violent extremists" and "remind us that the threat of terrorism remains very real."