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Suspect: Osama bin Laden Funded Australian Embassy Bombing in Jakarta

  • Phil Mercer

A suspect in the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta has told police al-Qaida terrorist chief Osama bin Laden financed the attacked that killed 10 people.

The suspect Rois, also known as Iwan Dharmawan, has reportedly told Indonesian police that Osama bin Laden spent $7,500 on last year's bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

Rois was arrested in West Java last November on terrorism charges. His comments appear in a Indonesian police interview transcript obtained by Australian media.

In the transcript Rois told police the money was delivered to accused Malaysian bomb maker Azahari Husin. He and another Malaysian, Norodin Mohammed Top, are among the most wanted terrorist suspects in Asia.

They have been implicated in several attacks - including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Rois says Australia has been targeted because of its alliance with the United States in the war in Iraq.

Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock says Rois' statements stress the link between al-Qaida and the Southeast Asian terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah.

"We know over a long period of time that al-Qaida has been supporting and funding some of J.I.'s operations and what we've learnt from questioning in Indonesia is that those linkages remain in place," he said.

Mr. Ruddock, however, rejected the claim that Australia's role in Iraq was the reason it was targeted. He noted militants attacked Australians long before the war in Iraq - pointing to the Bali bombings.

July's bombings in London have prompted Australia to carry out a major review of its counter-terrorism capabilities.

Tough, new anti-terror legislation is being considered along with increased video surveillance of public places and the use of sniffer dogs and more bag searches on public transport.

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