Indonesian police say a regional terror network has set up a new hit squad with a list of targets including police, judges and prosecutors. Chad Bouchard reports from Jakarta.
During a police raid in central Java, Indonesia's anti-terrorism squad found evidence that Jemaah Islamiyah, also called JI, had created a new group of assassins bent on attacking individuals seen as enemies of their cause.
Indonesia's top anti-terrorism office confirms that seven suspected members of the network, which some investigators have linked to al-Qaida, were arrested and another killed as a result of a series of raids last month.
Police also confiscated a large cache of weapons including M-16 rifles.
Sidney Jones is director of the Jakarta office of the policy research organization the International Crisis Group. She says police discovered a diagram outlining four groups of about four people each under the leadership of suspected JI leader, Abu Dujana.
"What they found in Central Java was a diagram of something that was called a "sariyah", which is usually used in Middle Eastern jihadist organizations to mean "brigade". And they seem to have in their sights this prosecutor from Semarang so it seems as though it were a special-forces unit," said Jones. "But the fact that there's been more of a focus on Indonesian officials for some time within JI is clear. They've got a particular dislike of the police because police arrest their comrades."
Police say Jemaah Islamiyah has been weakened by a series of raids and crackdowns over the last few years.
Terrorism experts indicate the group is divided by an ideological rift between those who favor western targets and a majority of members who are concerned only with local conflicts within Indonesia.
The group has been blamed for the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed two hundred and two people.
A former JI leader and alleged mastermind of the attack, Malaysian Noordin Mohamad Top, is on the run from police.
Sidney Jones says the discovery of a new JI wing may indicate the organization is divided.
"It certainly signifies the fact that JI is alive if not well, but it could be that a unit of JI has decided on attacks to prove that they're still there, so it could be a sign of weakness," she said. "On the other hand we don't know specifically who Abu Dujana reports to - it's clear he's not calling the shots."
Jemmah Islamiyah was founded in 1993, and boasts about 1,000 members. The group is said to want to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.