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October Today in Terrorism

October 1, 2005: Bali bombing plot

In a repeat of an attack less than three years earlierteh AQ-linked Jemaah Islamiyah planted another series of bombs in Bali, Indonesia in 2005

It may be rare for the same terrorist group to target the same place twice, but it has happened.

BALI, INDONESIA — We all remember the attacks of 9/11. How can we not? The loss of almost 3,000 people in the heart of the US is an event that will not only never go away but has also defined a whole generation.

What gets a little lost in all this is that one of the three targets that day, the World Trade Center in New York, was actually hit for the second time in less than a decade. On February 26, 1993 Al Qaeda (AQ) placed a 1,200-pound (over 500 kg) bomb in a Ryder truck in one of the parking garages. The subsequent explosion killed six people and wounded more than 1,000.

The same group of course was responsible for 9/11, demonstrating that either it did not feel it had gone far enough the first time or realised it was an easy target. After all, if something keeps working, why change?

World Trade Center bombing of 1993 | Background, Attack, Investigation, &  Trials | Britannica
Anyone see a rental truck?

On this day in 2002

Interestingly, another group, one affiliated with AQ, performed a similar act in Indonesia. On October 12, 2002, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), put two bombs in a pub abd club in the Kuta area of the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, leaving 202 people dead.

Not even three whole years later, a series of bomb blasts rocked popular tourist areas on the same island, killing at least 25 people and injuring 101. Among the places hit were a crowded restaurant outside the Four Seasons hotel at Jimbaran beach, and a shopping square in Kuta, not far from the 2002 terrorist bombing.

One witness, I Wayan Krisna, told El Shinta radio that as he tried to drag victims from the debris at the Raja Bar, he saw dismembered bodies scattered on the floor. The first and second floors of the restaurant, a favorite hangout for foreigners, were heavily damaged, but the third floor was virtually intact.

The blasts came just as Bali had seemed to put the 2002 terror attacks behind it, and as the tourism industry, the mainstay of the economy, was steaming to recovery. Tourists, particularly Australians, had been flooding back to the island, even though the Australian government had maintained a travel advisory warning Australians that travel there was risky.

Have we seen the last terrorist bombing in Bali? Unlikely. Not only are there many Islamist terrorists in Indonesia, but Bali in particular represents everything jihadis hate: mixed sexes, alcohol, and, above all, fun.

After all, there is no fun in FUNdamentalism.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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