BALI, Indonesia (AP) – Suicide bombers targeted the Indonesian tropical resort of Bali with coordinated attacks Saturday that devastated seafood and noodle restaurants packed with foreigners, killing at least 25 people.

Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai, one of Indonesia’s top anti-terrorism officials, said Sunday that the three attackers went into the restaurants on wearing explosive vests. The remains of their bodies were found at the scenes, he said.

“I have the seen them. All that is left is their head and feet,” he told The Associated Press. “By the evidence we can conclude the bombers were carrying the explosives around the waists.”

Saturday’s near-simultaneous blasts at two seafood cafes on Jimbaran beach and a three-story noodle and steakhouse in downtown Kuta came a month after Indonesia’s president warned of possible terrorist attacks. Two Americans were among the 101 people wounded.

Mbai said two Malaysian fugitives were suspected of masterminding the Saturday strikes. The two men, Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top, have been on Indonesia’s most wanted list since the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks on two Bali nightclubs that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

“The modus operandi of Saturday’s attacks is the same as the earlier ones,” said Mbai.

Baradita Katoppo, an Indonesian securities analyst, was on Jimbaran beach when the first bomb went off at around 8 p.m. Saturday in the Nyoman Cafe, where he was having dinner with his co-workers. Five minutes later, another explosion rocked a neighboring restaurant filled with diners.

“There was blood on their faces and their bodies,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do.”

Another witness, I Wayan Kresna, told the private El Shinta radio station that bloodied victims lined the floor.

“I helped lift up the bodies,” he said. “There was blood everywhere.”

At almost the same time about 18 miles away in Kuta, a bomb exploded at the three-story Raja restaurant in a bustling outdoor shopping center. The area includes a KFC fast-food restaurant, clothing stores and a tourist information center.

Smoke poured from the badly damaged building.

No one claimed responsibility for the blasts in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but suspicion immediately fell on the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, blamed for the Oct. 12, 2002, attack at a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people and two other deadly bombings in the capital Jakarta in recent years.

Western and Indonesian intelligence agencies have warned repeatedly that Jemaah Islamiyah was plotting more attacks despite a string of arrests. Last month, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was worried the extremist network was about to strike again.

“I received information at the time that terrorists were planning an action in Jakarta and that explosives were ready,” he said Saturday, adding that he immediately called for increased security.

“If this is the same group that was plotting attacks, maybe they sought new targets,” he said, noting that the bombers appeared to have picked open and public areas, not tightly guarded sites like the many five-star hotels that dot the famous beaches.

“We will hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he said warning that more attacks were possible.

Two Australians and a Japanese cizen were killed, along with 12 Indonesians. Hospital officials were trying to identify the 10 other corpses in the morgue, Sanglah Hospital, near Bali’s capital of Denpasar, said in a statement.

The 101 wounded included 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Koreans, three Japanese and two Americans, Sanglah Hospital said.

The White House condemned the “attack aimed at innocent people taking their evening meal.”

“We also express our solidarity with the government of Indonesia and convey our readiness to assist in any way,” spokeswoman Erin Healy said.

The island’s airport was quiet Sunday, with little immediate sign of the massive evacuation of foreign visitors that followed in the immediate aftermath of the 2002 bombings, which devastated the island’s tourist industry.

“What happened yesterday will not make me leave,” said Tony Abott, a tourist from Sydney, Australia, who planned to depart Wednesday as scheduled.

Before 2002, Bali enjoyed a reputation for peace and tranquility, an exception in a country wracked for years by ethnic and separatist violence. Those nightclub blasts killed people from 22 countries, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.

Courts on Bali have convicted dozens of militants for the blasts, and three suspects were sentenced to death.

Since the 2002 attacks, Jemaah Islamiyah has been tied to at least two other bombings in Indonesia, both in Jakarta. Those blasts, one outside the Australian Embassy in 2004 and the other at the J.W. Marriott hotel in 2003, killed at least 23.

The group wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.

The United States and Australia contend that militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is the group’s spiritual leader. The 67-year-old cleric, serving a two-year sentence for conspiracy in the 2002 attacks, is known for strong anti-Western and anti-Semitic views but has always maintained his innocence.



Associated Press reporter Meraiah Foley in Sydney, Australia, contributed to this report.

AP-ES-10-01-05 2212EDT


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