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Blasts kill three in Indonesia

Friday, December 6, 2002

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Explosions ripped through a McDonald's restaurant and a car dealership Thursday in eastern Indonesia, killing three and wounding two, police said.

The explosions occurred an hour apart in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar, 1,000 miles east of the Indonesia capital of Jakarta, said police Sgt. Hidayat, who uses only one name.

Bomb blasts have become a regular feature of a running conflict between Muslims and Christians on Sulawesi island.

Since 1999, nearly 2,000 have died in the fighting and tens of thousands left homeless. Attackers in Sulawesi rarely target Western interest like McDonald's restaurants.

No one took responsibility for the blasts, Hidayat said, adding that authorities had not ruled out an accidental explosion at the McDonald's.

Hidayat also refused to say what caused the second explosion at the car dealership, owned by Indonesian Welfare Minister Jusuf Kalla.

All the victims were at the McDonald's restaurant in a shopping mall.

Four cars were damaged in the second explosion in front of the car dealership.

A peace deal was signed late last year between Muslims and Christians, but clashes have been on the rise in recent months.

There have been a string of bus bombs and raids on villages by bands of armed men.

In recent months, many Western governments have expressed fears of attacks on their citizens and issued travel warnings for Indonesia after the Oct. 12 bomb blasts at two nightclubs on the tourist island of Bali that killed nearly 200 people, most of them Australian tourists.


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