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Suicide bombers suspected in attack

Australia says warning was late

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Police released yesterday a grainy photo taken by a security camera of a white delivery truck just before it blew up outside the Australian Embassy and said they suspect two suicide bombers in the vehicle set off the explosion, killing seven other people.

As details of Thursday's attack emerged, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said at a Jakarta news conference that Indonesian police had received a mobile phone text message 45 minutes before the bombing, warning that foreign missions in Jakarta would be attacked unless the alleged head of Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah was freed from prison.

Australian officials said the threat was not passed on to Australian Federal Police until hours after Thursday's bombing. But Indonesian police said they had received no such warning.

"That's not true. Where did Downer get that from?" said Indonesian police spokesman Major General Paiman, who goes by a single name.

In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard said another attack in Jakarta was a "distinct possibility." Militants have repeatedly struck foreign targets in Indonesia. In 2002, nightclub bombings on Bali killed 202 people, including many Australians.

The accused head of Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Bakar Bashir, is in jail as prosecutors draw up a revised indictment against him for allegedly inspiring his followers to launch attacks. In 2002, an Indonesian court cleared Bashir of terror charges, but sentenced him to 18 months in jail for minor immigration violations. He was rearrested in April after serving his sentence. A claim of responsibility in Jemaah Islamiyah's name was posted Thursday on an Internet site known for carrying extremist Islamic content. Its authenticity could not be verified.

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