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Police Say Indonesia Terror Attacks Funded Directly by al-Qaida

  • Tim Johnston

Police in Indonesia say all the major terrorist attacks carried out in the country over the last four years were funded by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network. The attacks are believed to have been carried out by the home-grown Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, which was known to have connections with al-Qaida, but new information illustrates a closer connection than many people suspected.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been long known as an autonomous Southeast Asian affiliate of the larger al-Qaida network, but the comments by a senior Indonesian anti-terror officer, Police Colonel Petrus Reinhart Golose, imply a close relationship.

Golose told reporters Tuesday that some $30,000 had been personally sent by the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to fund J.I.'s first major attack: the October, 2002, bombing of a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, which killed more than 200 people.

Golose said Khalid sent more money for the second major attack, the bombing of the J.W. Marriott in Jakarta a year later. He said the last two attacks - on the Australian Embassy in 2004, and last year's suicide bombings of three Bali restaurants - were at least partly funded by money left over from the earlier operations.

Sidney Jones, the head of the regional office of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, compares J.I. to a non-governmental organization, or NGO, that goes to a large organization for cash.

"There is no direct control from al-Qaida to J.I.," said Jones. "We understand the relationship as being between an NGO and a donor organization - that is, J.I. is the NGO, al-Qaida is the donor organization, and in this case the NGO appeals to a donor organization for funds, but the donor has no direct control on what the organization does with those funds, but it will only grant them if it agrees with the aims that the NGO says it will do."

Dozens of J.I. activists have been arrested since the bombings began. Among them is the group's one-time military commander and key link with al-Qaida, a man known as Hambali, who is now in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location.

Although most analysts believe J.I.'s organization has been badly damaged by the arrests, they say it is still capable of carrying out attacks, with or without al-Qaida's assistance.

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