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Homeland Security

Bali Nightclub Bombing

On October 12, 2002 a car bomb exploded outside the Sari nightclub in Bali, a popular tourist island in Indonesia. The attack was the worst terrorist incident in the history of Indonesia, with 202 civilians dead and more than 100 wounded.

While the attack was attributed to Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesian terrorist group with aims of creating an Islamic state composed of parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Southern Philipennes; according to U.S. and Asian intelligence authorities the attack had been connected to al-Qaeda. The nightclub bombings were the seventh major bombing in the area within 3 weeks, including an explosion in the southern Philippines that killed one U.S. Marine.

The mastermind, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, behind the attacks was al-Qaeda's chief representative and senior planner in Southeast Asia, as well as being operational chief of Jemaah Islamiya, Ryuduan bin Isomuddin, also known as Hambali. Hambali was detained by the U.S. government in August of 2003. Hambali was also believed to have been involved in the 2003 Marriot Hotel bombings in Jakarta, facilitated the January 2000 meeting in Malaysia including two September 11th highjackers, as well as being a close associate of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shekih Mohammed.

Jakarta's response to the 12 October terrorist attacks in Bali represented a major and multifaceted counterterrorism effort. Jakarta undertook a number of significant actions, including the quick adoption of antiterrorism decrees (PERPU), the introduction into the legislature of a counterterrorism bill, and an aggressive investigation into the Bali attacks in particular. Jakarta, with international assistance, has taken action against Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an organization now designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224 and included on the UNSCR 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list of organizations and individuals, whose assets UN member states are required to freeze. Indonesia's weak rule of law and poorly regulated financial system have produced roadblocks in uncovering terrorist assets, notwithstanding its willingness to freeze terrorist assets, consistent with the requirements of UNSCR 1373, as well as UNSCRs 1267, 1390, and 1455.

The 12 October Bali terrorist bombings, which killed some 200 persons and maimed hundreds more, has been clearly attributed to the al-Qaeda linked terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya. The attack in Bali's crowded Kuta tourist district was initiated with a possible suicide bombing inside a tourist bar that funneled panicking victims into the street, exposing the crowd to the full blast of a large car bomb parked next to the neighboring Sari club.


In February of 2002 a meeting wass held in Thailand between Hambali and several other men including one known as Mukhlas, where the topic of bringing jihad to South East Asia was discussed. In April of the same year Mukhlas returns home to Tengglun to begin planning the attack with his younger brother Amrozi, they make the decision to target Bali. Five months later Amrozi buys the chemicals necessary for the attack in Surabay, and from there travelled to Denpasar.

On October 12, 2002 a suicide bomber detonated himself inside a bar along the beach in Bali killing 9 people, a few minutes later a parked van exploded outside the Sari Club, killing 202 people. A few miles away a bomb explodeed at the U.S. consulate about a minute after the van exploded, however no one was injured. Seven days later the purported radical spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Bashir, was arrested by police.

A short time later on November 5 Amrozi was arrested in East Java where he confessed to owning the van responsible for the blast and also buying the explosives used.He also implicated his brother Mukhlas in the ownership of the van. Three days later al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Bali attacks.

On November 21st Police arrested the suspected field coordinator of the bombings, Imam Samudra, while trying to flee Malaysia, then on December 3rd Mukhlas, the older brother of Amrozi, was arrested. On April 23, 2003 Cleric Bashir was tried for treason over a series of church bombings in Indonesia in 2000. Bashir claimed that Jemaah Islamiah does not exist.

In downtown Jakarta on August 5 of that year a car bomb exploded outside a Marriot hotel killing 10 and wounding close to 150, Jemaah Islamiah was the immediate suspect. 2 days later Amrozi was sentenced to death.

On August 15th the U.S. announced the capture of Hambali, the purported organizer of the Bali bombings. On September 9, 2003 Imam Samudra is handed the death sentence, and on October 2 Mukhlas was sentenced to death as well.

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Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:49:13 ZULU