Hotels seem to be a favourite target for terrorist attacks.
JAKARTA, INDONESIA — What was your worst hotel experience? Was it the dirty bedsheets? The lack of an in-room coffee maker? A less than stellar hotel bar? Go ahead, email me your worst nightmares staying in your ‘home away from home’.
From a terrorist’s perspective, hotels provide great ‘experiences’, if you consider carnage and mayhem great. They are full of people, often foreigners whom you hate. They are concentrated in a very small place meaning you can target your victims easily. They are often associated with large, well-known international brands (i.e. foreign) meaning you will get the attention you desire. And the unfortunate ones killed and injured rarely have anywhere to go to escape.
This all goes a long way to explaining why hotels are a dream for a terrorist attack and why terrorists have indeed attacked them. Today’s featured incident is a good example.
2009 bombing in Jakarta
On this day in 2009, at least eight people were killed and 50 injured in two separate bomb attacks at western-owned hotels in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. No group claimed responsibility but the bombings, which appear to have been carried out by suicide attackers, were blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an Al Qaeda (AQ)-linked terrorist group suspected of carrying out similar attacks in south-east Asia.
The blasts occurred virtually simultaneously at the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in central Jakarta at about 8 AM local time. Several of the bombing suspects were believed to have been staying at the Marriott. You read that right: some of the suicide bombers had checked in as guests.
The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to be behind the July 2009 bombings at two hotels in Jakarta in which eight people were killed.
JI has been a very active terrorist group in Indonesia over the years. It was also behind the 2002 Bali attacks in which more than 200 were killed. It is seeking to establish an ‘Islamic state’ across Indonesia, Malaysia and the southern Philippines (which is predominantly Muslim).
Expect more hotel attacks to come. As for me, I think I’ll refrain from being too critical about my next stay: it could be worse.