Malaysian extremist behind Indonesia attacks: official

A Malaysian extremist wanted for a string of terror attacks was named Saturday as the likely culprit behind suicide bombings at luxury hotels in Indonesia that left at least eight dead and 55 injured.

Police searched for clues in the debris at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, located in an upmarket Jakarta business district, which were rocked by explosions during breakfast on Friday.

DNA evidence from the remains of two suspected suicide bombers and explosives found in their "control centre" in a Marriott guestroom were examined as security was tightened across Indonesia.

Five foreigners -- three Australians, a New Zealander and a Singaporean -- were identified among the dead as Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda put the total toll at eight, including the bombers.

However, there has been confusion over the toll and later national police spokesman Nanan Soekarna concurred with an earlier health ministry figure by saying that nine were killed including five at the Marriott.

"There were three dead at the Ritz-Carlton. We found a severed head of a male and two headless bodies, one belonging to a male and the other a female. The head and the body of the males don't match," he said.

Soekarna said 16 foreigners had been injured including six Americans, two Dutch, one Australian, two Canadians, one Indian, two South Koreans, one New Zealander and one Norwegian.

National police chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri called on hotels and shopping malls across the vast, mainly Muslim archipelago of 234 million people to raise their security protocols in response to the bombings.

The attacks triggered the cancellation of a planned Manchester United friendly against an Indonesian All-Star team scheduled for Monday, a decision that caused great dismay among football fans here.

On Saturday the glamour side rejected an Indonesian presidential aide's plea to reconsider their decision, saying it had not been made lightly.

"Everyone at the club is disappointed not to be able to play in Indonesia, but it has a responsibility to its players and staff," it said in a statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the security ministry's anti-terror desk chief, Ansyaad Mbai, told AFP that evidence pointed to Malaysian-born extremist Noordin Mohammed Top.

"There are strong indications that Noordin Top's group is behind the attacks because the bombs were hand-made and the tactic was suicide bombings," he said.

It is the fourth attack in Indonesia allegedly masterminded by Noordin after bombings at the Jakarta Marriott in 2003, the Australian embassy in 2004 and Bali restaurants in 2005 which have killed more than 40 people.

He is a violent jihadist, a master bomb-maker and the leader of the most extreme splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah JI terror network blamed for the 2002 bombings of night-clubs in Bali which killed 202 people.

Investigators said they found an unexploded bomb and bomb-making materials in room 1808 of the Marriott, which they believe served as the attackers' operations centre.

They said the bombers stayed in the room for two nights before the attacks and disguised themselves as guests when they walked into crowded dining and meeting areas and detonated their suitcase devices.

Obama spoke to Yudhoyono by telephone on Saturday, a White House statement said, "to congratulate him on his re-election and to express support for and solidarity with his government and the people of Indonesia in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attacks in Jakarta".