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 Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege

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BerichtOnderwerp: Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege   Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege Icon_minitimezo 9 aug 2009 - 9:52

Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege
Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 8 August 2009 19.48 BST Article history

Indonesian police believe that they have killed Noordin Mohammed Top, the leading Islamist militant implicated in a series of major terrorist attacks, including the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005 that claimed more than 200 lives.

The Malaysian national, a former accountant and maths teacher, had become one of Asia's most wanted men for his involvement in a series of suicide assaults on hotels and the Australian embassy, launched in pursuit of an Islamic state in south-east Asia.

Nicknamed "the Moneyman" by local media, the former leader of Jemaah Islamiyah – who had recently formed his own splinter group allied with al-Qaida – was finally cornered in central Java by elite troops from Detachment 88, the same force that in 2005 killed his close associate Azahari Husin.

Noordin's life on the run – and as a key recruiter, financier and planner – appeared to have come to a bloody end after a 17-hour siege when police, tipped off to his presence by two other arrested members of his group, stormed a mud-walled village house.

"There was a shooting between the special detachment team and the people inside the house," said police spokesman Nanan Soekarna. "This house was our target." A police spokesman said later that Noordin had "succumbed to bullets and the impact of explosions".

In a separate raid, Indonesian police also appear to have foiled a plot to attack Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's residence with a car bomb.

The man-hunt for Noordin had intensified since last month after he was named as the main suspect in last month's suicide attacks on Jakarta's Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, in which nine died and 53 were injured. Noordin was as notorious for his ability to turn young men into suicide bombers as for his ability to escape capture.

The assault on the house in Temanggung, 250 miles south-east of the capital, Jakarta, began at 5pm and ended at dawn when police stormed the building after a series of explosions rocked the house .

If Noordin has been killed, it would be major coup for security forces and could reduce the chance of further attacks.

"He was shot dead," one source said, adding that raids in the area had led police to a house in Bekasi, on the outskirts of the capital, where up to 500kg of bombs had been found. A Reuters correspondent in Bekasi heard a loud blast from the cordoned-off area and police said they had killed two suspected militants.

The body of the man believed to be Noordin was flown to Jakarta yesterday for identification by DNA tests. "I think this is very significant. Hopefully the person is Noordin," said Soekarna.

Intelligence officials say Noordin, 40, and Husin were leaders in the Jemaah Islamiyah network which has been blamed for a series of bomb attacks in Indonesia since 2002.

His campaign of violence in Indonesia began when he fled with Husin from Malaysia after the 11 September attacks on the United States to escape an expected crackdown on Islamic militants. But the pair split from Jemaah Islamiyah following a disagreement over Noordin's insistence on increasingly hardline methods.

By 2006 police claimed he was commanding a new group called Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad – the Organisation for the Base of Jihad. His life on the run was described by his wife, Arina Rahma, last month.

She said she had only recently become aware that the attentive husband and devoted father who would disappear for weeks at a time – ostensibly for work – was the region's most wanted militant. She told police she believed her husband was a publicity agent for an Islamic school.

Security consultant Ken Conboy said Noordin was key to the network with his skills of recruiting suicide bombers. "If you look at the history of violent radicalism in Indonesia, once they wrap up the main players, it goes into a period of hiatus for a time," he said.

Andi Wijayanto, a security expert at the University of Indonesia, said getting Noordin would be "a significant blow to the group, as its leader has been killed and its logistics have been hurt".

In Bekasi, two men were shot dead after throwing a pipe bomb at police – one a suspected bomb-maker and the other linked to a 2004 attack on the Australian embassy, said Soekarna.

He said two other suspects believed to be involved in recruiting suicide bombers were still on the run.

National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said bombs at the house appeared to have been prepared for use in a car bomb attack on "a very particular target", but did not elaborate.

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BerichtOnderwerp: Re: Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege   Bali bomber believed dead after bloody 17-hour siege Icon_minitimezo 9 aug 2009 - 20:55

Was it Noordin? Body remains unidentified.

Suherdjoko and Dicky Christanto , The Jakarta Post , Temanggung, Jakarta | Sun, 08/09/2009 11:35 AM | Headlines

Following intense operations against suspected terrorists, the police have yet to confirm whether they have killed one of Southeast Asia's most wanted criminals, Noordin M. Top.

However they reasserted those involved in the recent hotel bombings were among his recruits.

Conferring with the press after the simultaneous two raids in Temanggung and Jati Asih, Bekasi, on Saturday, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said his side would conduct DNA tests to confirm whether the man shot dead in the crackdown on a house in Beji village, Temanggung, Central Java, was actually Noordin.

"One thing we can confirm is that someone was shot dead in the Temanggung raid. However we should wait for the results of the DNA test before we can identify the body as Noordin M Top's."

The raid was launched by the anti-terror Detachment 88 after the police got information on Noordin's arrival at a house belonging to a local called Mohzari.

At his residence President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised the police for the "important operation." "I convey my gratitude, on behalf of the state, the government and the people," he said. Police said the newly reelected president himself was among the terrorists' targets.

Bambang pledged the police would continue their hunt for other suspects, including someone who escaped in Solo, Central Java.

"However apparently because of the aggressive media coverage the terrorists managed to flee," Bambang said.

Speculation about Noordin's death was initially sparked by live coverage that assumed the man shot dead in Temanggung raid was Noordin.

Bambang called on all those who were related to Noordin to come forward for DNA samples.

"We have invited the wife of Noordin and the children to run the test. The result of the DNA test is expected to be available within a week from now."

Bambang said police had managed to identify two suicide bombers who attacked the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels last month.

Both were "new recruits" named Dani Permana and Ichwan Maulana, he said.

Bambang said Noordin was the most wanted following the killing of another leading figure, Azahari, in the 2005 raid in Malang, East Java, and reasserted that those behind the two recent hotel bombings were his recruits within the Jamaah Islamiyah networks in Southeast Asia.

Two weeks ago the police said the two suicide bombers were likely on the police's most wanted list.

In the Jati Asih raid, two terrorists were shot dead and two others identified as Amir Abdullah and Yayan arrested.

In Temanggung, one believed to be Noordin was shot dead and three others - Mohzari, Aris and Hendra - were arrested.

The two gunned down in Jati Asih were identified as Air Setiawan and Eko Joko Sarjono, both from Solo.

Police said they had no difficulties in arresting Setiawan after his involvement in the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing.

"Setiawan is an old player," Bambang said.

The crackdown in Jati Asih was launched after the police detected the transportation of high explosives from Solo to a house at the Puri Nusantara housing compound in the subdistrict.

Police said the terrorists planned to launch a car bomb attack on the private residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Cikeas, some 5 kilometers from Jati Asih.

"They were planning to attack as they held Yudhoyono responsible for the execution of their three partners Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron and Amrozi," he added.

The three were sentenced to death for their involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 foreigners and locals. The police were still pursuing several other terrorists implicated in the hotel bombings.

"Among them are Ibrahim and SJ, the man who allegedly recruited suicide bombers," Bambang said.

Tarko Sudiarno and Slamet Susanto contributed to the story from Central Java

(eerlijk gejat van de Jak-Pos)
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