Friday, September 18, 2009


Jakarta, Sept 18, 2009 (ANTARA) - Just three days before the Idul Fitri Islamic festivity, also called `the day of victory`, Indonesian police permanently terminated most wanted terrorist Noordin M Top in a raid in Solo, Central Java, on Thursday (Sept. 17).

At a press conference at the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta, Thursday evening, delighted and always showing his two thumbs, National Police Chief Gen Bambang Hendarso Danuri confirmed that one of four terror suspects shot dead during the raid was Malaysian fugitive terror mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top.

Among the four bodies recovered after the eight-hour raid by the police`s anti-terror unit Densus-88 on house in a village in Solo was a decapitated one believed to belong to terror mastermind Noordin M Top who had been at large for nine years.

Danuri made the confirmation after the police matched Noordin`s fingerprints with those police had kept in their files. Noordin had previously managed to repeatedly escape from anti-terrorist police`s raids.

"We obtained Noordin`s fingerprints from the Malaysian Police and after we matched these with those of one of the bodies, we found they matched on 14 points on the right and left fingers," Danuri said.

Although the identification by the fingerprints was convincing enough, Danuri said, the police would still conduct a DNA test and announce the results within the next 20 hours.

Besides Noordin, the Densus-88 police in the raid also shot dead three other terror suspects, namely Bagus Budi Pranoto alias Urwah, who had been released following a conviction for his part in the Australian embassy attack, Hadi Susilo, who rented the house, dan Aryo Sudarso alias Aji, a wanted bomb maker.

The bodies of the four suspected terrorists were sent to the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in east Jakarta at noon on Thursday, from Solo, for identification.

Susilo`s pregnant wife was wounded in the raid, where the police also found a cache of weapons including grenades in the house as well as eight sacks of explosives.

Danuri explained that before the raid, police had arrested two suspected terrorists, namely Rahmat Puji Prabowo alias Bejo and Supono alias Kedu at Solo`s Gading market. The arrests led to the raid five hours later, after the police extracted information on Noordin`s hideout from them.

Following the bomb blasts at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on July 17, 2008, which killed nine people, the Indonesian police`s anti-terror unit Densus-88 intensified its hunt of terrorists and raided at least two locations believed to be terrorist hideouts on Aug. 8, 2009.

Three terrorists were killed and at least one was arrested, in the two raids, respectively in Jatiasih, Bekasi, West Java, and Temanggung District, Central Java.

Noordin M Top, fugitive Malaysian-born terrorist reportedly managed to escape from the 17-hour raid in Temanggung. He was initially reported dead at the end of the siege but the body later turned out to be that of a florist working in the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel complex who helped plot the attacks from the inside.

Noordin M Top and Dr Azahari , both Malaysian nationals, were believed to have also masterminded the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta on August 5, 2003 which killed 12 people, and injured 147 others.

They, as terror coordinators of the Al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian branch of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network, were also believed to have masterminded a series of major terrorist acts in Indonesia, including the Bali bombings in 2002, a deadly blast at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004, and bombings in Bali in October 2005 that killed more than 220 people, including a number of Australian tourists.

Dr Azahari was killed in a police raid in East Java in November 2005, but Noordin M Top who was with him at that time, was able to escape.

Noordin, who was born in 1968 in Malaysia`s Johor state, started attending lectures at a boarding school set up by regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) at about the age of 27, according to International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based organization that provides advice and analysis on resolving conflicts.

The school became a nerve center for JI, which advocates jihad to establish an Islamic caliphate ruled by Shariah law in Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Philippines and southern Thailand.

Noordin became director of the boarding school, which had 350 students at one point. Authorities closed the school shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Noordin headed to Indonesia and settled with a friend from the school in central Java.

The police`s Densus-88 endless efforts which finally resulted in Noordin`s elimination, were commended by several parties, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the US administration.

"It is an outstanding achievement and therefore I express my gratitude to the police," the president said.

Besides the head of state, Vice President Jusuf Kalla also congratulated the police for its outstanding achievement in killing the terrorist mastermind.

"It is the highest achievement of the police and therefore we have to express our highest appreciation," the vice president said, adding it was hoped that following the death of Noordin Top, terror acts in Indonesia would decline substantially.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also praised Indonesian authorities, saying Noordin`s elimination was a significant achievement.

"This is welcome news and I congratulate the Indonesian security authorities for their success," the Australian prime minister told ABC Radio on Friday.

Rudd said Noordin`s demise would cause great damage to the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror group which was responsible for a series of attacks on Australians, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

He said Noordin had been behind numerous attacks on Australians in Indonesia.

The Obama administration also welcomed the operation. "Obviously, this potentially represents a significant step forward for Indonesia in its battle with political extremists," US State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley, said in Washington, DC, Thursday.

"As for the specific details, we`ll refer to the Indonesian Government. We did not participate in the operations nor did we provide information that led to the raid," Crowley said when asked about any U.S. involvement.

Malaysia`s Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, who was visiting Jakarta when Noordin was killed, said "We`re very pleased and thankful to the Indonesian police and authorities for being able to do their job."

Noordin "being a Malaysian, we are very concerned that it could destroy the image of Malaysia," he said by telephone from Jakarta as reported by Blomberg.

International Crisis Group analyst Sidney Jones said Noordin`s death would be a major setback. " It`s a major blow for terrorism in Indonesia generally. I think Noordin was the person most single-mindedly devoted to pursuing the Al-Qaeda line in Indonesia," she said.

Despite the success, Indonesia security officers remain vigilant, as President Yudhoyono warned that the terrorist mastermind`s death did not mean that the terrorist network in Southeast Asia had been paralyzed.



(T.F001/A/F001/A/F001) 18-09-2009 12:46:25

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