Beliefnet
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Authorities ``intensively interrogated'' two men Tuesday about the deadly nightclub bombing in Bali that killed nearly 200 people and said traces of plastic explosives were found at the scene of the blast.

Meanwhile, with Indonesia under increasing international pressure to clamp down on terrorism, a violent Muslim group with ties to Indonesia's military disbanded - the first apparent sign that the government was getting serious about cracking down on Islamic extremism.

The announcement by the group, Laskar Jihad, also came as the accused spiritual leader of still another extremist network, linked to al-Qaida, said he would submit to police questioning.

The blast killed at least 181 people and injured more than 300, most of them foreign tourists, and has led to increasing pressure on Indonesia to crack down on al-Qaida terrorists and local allies blamed for the bombing. U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday he planned to talk to Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri about the need to crack down on terrorism.

``You cannot pretend it (terrorism) doesn't exist in your country,'' Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a news conference Tuesday in Washington. He said he hoped the attack ``reinforces Indonesia's determination to deal with this kind of threat.''

Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Saleh Saaf said police have questioned at least 47 people in connection with the blast, and that a security guard and another man were being ``intensively interrogated.'' He denied reports that the two had been arrested.

The second man was the brother of a man whose identification card was found at the scene of the blast, intelligence officers said on condition of anonymity.

Traces of the puttylike military plastic explosive C-4 - the same, or similar, explosive used in the attack two years ago on the USS Cole in Yemen - were found at the scene, National Police Chief Da'i Bachtiar said.

Days after the explosion ripped through the jammed Sari Club, Bali was still struggling to cope with the corpses.

At the island's main hospital - largely used as a morgue now - dozens of volunteers, from backpackers in flip-flop sandals to local students, were caring for the bodies, either icing them down or loading them into refrigerated containers, to slow decomposition in the tropical heat. Australia, which lost dozens of citizens in the attack, was arranging for the bodies of its citizens to be repatriated.

Dozens of shoulder-high wreaths of flowers had been left at the edge of the morgue, where hundreds of people stared at the scene, watched over by armed Indonesian soldiers.

Indonesia's intelligence chief, Mohamad Abdul Hendropriyono, told reporters his organization was cooperating with foreign agencies in the investigation.

``This attack has been well planned and it required expertise in handling high-tech (bombs),'' he said. ``It is a very complicated task and is outside the ability of local hands.''

Megawati's government is in a delicate position - looking for ways to crack down on terrorists without sparking further attacks or unrest in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Laskar Jihad's dissolution would be a relatively easy way for Jakarta to show its willingness to fight terrorism, and perhaps gain ground in its efforts to restart American military aid. The group is not suspected of the Bali bombings, but removing it from the scene would help the government respond to accusations that it has turned a blind eye to extremist violence.

Laskar Jihad is blamed for the slaughter of thousands of Christians in a sectarian conflict in Indonesia's Maluku islands. In recent months, the activities of the group, which has deep ties to Indonesia's military, have become an increasing embarrassment for authorities.

As the Bush administration pushed to re-establish ties with the Indonesian military - cut in 1999 after the army's destruction in East Timor - Laskar Jihad's military connection was cited by U.S. congressional critics as proof that the military continued to represent the main threat to the country's fragile democracy.

Achmad Michdan, legal adviser to Laskar Jihad, told reporters in Jakarta that the group was disbanding.

Michdan insisted the decision to dissolve was unconnected to the bombing and was rooted in theological issues. ``It is an internal matter,'' he said.

In Australia, meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard said his nation would seek the listing of Jemaah Islamiyah - a shadowy pan-Asian network believed linked to al-Qaida and suspected of involvement in the nightclub bombing - as a terrorist organization.

Australian officials ``have received indications from other countries ... that that move will be supported,'' he told Parliament.

The suspected spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah said he would voluntarily submit to police questioning.

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