BALI, Indonesia -- Indonesia's defense minister blamed al-Qaida and its extremist allies on Monday for the massive bomb attack that killed more than 180 people at a nightclub on the resort island of Bali.
"We are sure al-Qaida is here," Matori Abdul Djalil said after a Cabinet meeting in Jakarta. "The Bali bomb blast is linked to al-Qaida with the cooperation of local terrorists."
The leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a group linked to Osama bin Laden's terror network, denied involvement and implicated the United States.
The defense minister's statement was the first time that a top government official had implicated al-Qaida in Saturday's attack, the worst of its kind worldwide since the Sept. 11 attacks in America. Until now, police investigators have said they had few clues and no suspects in the blasts that tore through the Kuta Beach nightclub district.
FBI and Australian detectives joined the hunt for the killers while forensic experts painstakingly tried to identify bodies. Indonesian government officials said 181 people had died, though hospital workers put the figure at 188.
Many of the victims were tourists from Australia, as well as from Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Ecuador. Indonesians were also among the dead.
Two Americans were killed, the U.S. State Department said, and three others were among more than 300 people injured. Dozens of foreigners remained unaccounted for.
Among the missing was Jake Young, a former University of Nebraska football player who had been working as an attorney in Hong Kong for a London-based firm. The 34-year-old was traveling in Bali with his rugby team, and had not contacted his family since the blast.
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, often the target of bomb threats, ordered all nonessential staff and dependents to leave Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.
A bomb threat shut down the embassy's club for a second day. The Australian school in Jakarta closed as a precaution.
In Washington, President Bush condemned the attack as "a cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos" and offered U.S. help in finding the perpetrators.
Fearing that terrorists could strike again, thousands of stunned tourists thronged Bali's airport, desperately looking for flights. Many vacationers camped overnight on beaches, shunning built-up areas in case of more attacks.
"We just want to go back to our families," said Carima Sebba, 26, from the Netherlands. "I'm scared, I won't be back for a long time."
As stocks tumbled in Jakarta by more than 9 percent Monday and the Indonesian rupiah also took a dive against the U.S. dollar, many worried about a long-term decline in tourism, one of Indonesia's top industries.
More than 5 million foreigners visited Indonesia in 2001 -- about 1.5 million to Bali alone. All told, they inject about $5 billion into the economy each year.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing -- the worst terrorist attack in Indonesia's history. But suspicion immediately turned to al-Qaida and an affiliated group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which is said to want a pan-Islamic state across Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines.
Jemaah Islamiyah has already been implicated in a plot at the beginning of this year to bomb foreign embassies in the region, and Australia says it is a prime suspect in the Bali attack.
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