A massive car bomb exploded at 23.00 local time of Saturday night in the Kuka Beach area of Bali, a venue frequented mainly by Australians, leaving 182 dead and between 130 and 300 injured, according to local and international reports.
The car bomb, thought to be TNT, exploded outside the Sari Club, which was packed with foreign tourists, mainly from Australia and New Zealand. The Sari Club is a popular resort in the Legian district, near Denpasan, the capital of the island. The explosion, followed by a fire, left a scene befitting of a horror movie, with parts of bodies lying strewn around the street outside and people engulfed in flames running screaming through the crowds.
The death toll has been confirmed at 182, while reports on the number of injuries differ, varying between 130 and over 300. A second explosion nearby in Denpasar itself failed to cause victims. Reports that this explosion targeted a US consular office are unconvincing, since this office was being used informally and secretly by US consular personnel and the explosion was 250 metres from the exact location. Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri described the act as “a brutal, inhuman and violent action” which “violates religious and moral principles”.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard declared that the act, which caused mainly Australian victims, is “a brutal reminder that the world has in fact to face the challenge of terrorism”, which can affect “anyone, anywhere at any time”. He added that the war against terrorism “must go on with unrelenting vigour and with unconditional commitment”.
It is believed that foreign Al-Qaeda operatives have been liasing in recent months with local Islamist extremist groups in Bali, called “The Paradise Island”. On Saturday it resembled the gates of Hell.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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