Image: Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top
Trisnadi  /  AP
A police officer attaches a poster of Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of a series of bombings in Indonesia at a shopping mall in Surabaya, East Java, on Friday.
updated 7/24/2009 5:56:45 AM ET 2009-07-24T09:56:45

The suicide bombers who struck in the Indonesian capital last week planted a third bomb with a timer that malfunctioned, police said Friday, indicating similar tactics to the Southeast Asian militants behind the Bali bombings.

The unexploded device — a laptop filled with explosives and bolts — was found on the 18th floor of the J.W. Marriott hotel and should have gone off first, said Ketut Untung Yoga of the national police.

The explosion would likely have sent panicked crowds fleeing to the ground floors, where the two suicide attackers detonated their explosives packs.

"It is clear that the bomb found inside the hotel was equipped with a timer that shows the time of the (failed) explosion," Untung Yoga said. "It was supposed to explode before the other two."

Last Friday's near simultaneous explosions at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton killed seven people and wounded more than 50, breaking a nearly four-year lull it terrorist activity in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation. The two bombers, believed to have been associated to the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, also died.

An unknown number of suspects have been picked up in an ongoing, nationwide manhunt that is also targeting Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of four major bombings in Indonesia.

Jemaah Islamiyah used a combination of stationary, timed explosives and suicide bombers in the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings that killed more than 220 people. The group was also blamed for the first bombing of the J.W. Marriott in 2003 and an attack on the Australian Embassy in 2004.

A widespread crackdown by counterterrorism forces has netted hundreds of militants in recent years in Indonesia, and the group was believed to have virtually wiped out.

But last Fridays' attack showed that terrorists, possibly Noordin's violent Jemaah Islamiyah splinter group, are still able to strike closely-guarded Western targets in the heart of the capital, reviving fears that more bombings may follow.

Mastermind's wife allegedly duped
Among those rounded up by police in central Java since the latest bombings are Noordin's wife and their two children and a broom-maker who allegedly confessed to police that he was trained to be a suicide bomber by Jemaah Islamiyah.

Video: Jakarta bombings point to Islamic terrorist group No one has been charged, but under Indonesian law they can be held for up to week for questioning.

Ariana Rahma told investigators she hadn't known her husband's true identity until his photo was shown on TV and in newspapers last weekend, said her lawyer, Achmad Kholid.

She believed the man she married in 2005 — who was introduced to her by her father — was named Ade Abdul Halim and came from Sulawesi. She last saw them on June 22, he said, when they narrowly escaped a police raid that found bomb-making material at the family home in the town of Cilacap.

But she "learned from media reports that she is the wife of the most wanted Islamic militant suspect in Southeast Asia," Kholid said. "She told us that her husband and father decided to not return home because they were afraid to be captured."

More on: Indonesia | Jemaah Islamiyah

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Deadly hotel blasts in Jakarta

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  1. A boy places flowers in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday, July 17, after the deadly terrorist blast there. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Emergency workers and crowds gather at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta on Friday after a blast there. Police said suicide bombers had checked in as guests at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels. (Adek Berry / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A guest of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta checks out Friday following the bombing there. (Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaks to a foreign visitor, Scott Merrillees, who was injured in the blasts Friday in Jakarta. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A woman is evacuated after the blast at the Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta on Friday. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Police officers inspect the damage after the explosion at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta. (Dita Alangkara / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Police stand guard in front of the damaged Ritz-Carlton hotel after an explosion in Jakarta on July 17. Scores of hotel guests milled behind police lines in the hours after the blasts, some still wearing bathrobes. (Dadang Tri / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. An Indonesian forensic investigator inspects a damaged building near the Marriott hotel in Jakarta on July 17. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A body is removed from the scene following a blast at the Marriott hotel in Jakarta on July 17. Officials said a New Zealander was among those killed, and that thirteen other foreigners were among the wounded, including nationals from Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and the United States. (Ulet Ifansasti / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Indonesian police officers inspect the blast site inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta on July 17. (Rumgapres via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Employees of the Ritz-Carlton hotel gather at an open field across from the bombed hotel in Jakarta on July 17. (Romeo Gacad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Police officers stand guard near debris outside the Marriott hotel n Jakarta on July 17. In a televised address to the nation, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed to arrest the attackers. (Dita Alangkara / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. The blast at the Marriott hotel sparked panic in the streets of Jakarta on July 17. (Lydia Ruddy / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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