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Indonesian Police Question Wife of Embassy Bombing Suspect - 2004-09-24

The Indonesian police say they have taken in for questioning a woman believed to be the wife of one of the alleged masterminds behind a string of terror bombings, including the attack on the Australian Embassy earlier this month. Police are not saying exactly why she was detained, but authorities have made other arrests in connection with recent terrorist attacks attributed to the regional militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah.

The police say the woman, who was using the alias Fitri, was in an Islamic boarding school, just south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. She is alleged to be married to Nurdin Mohammed Top, a Malaysian who has been accused of being the main treasurer behind the regional militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah.

Members of JI, as it is known, have been convicted of setting the bombs that killed more than 200 people in Bali two years ago and the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta last year. The group is also suspected of having planned and carried out the attack on the Australian Embassy earlier this month, in which at least nine people died.

Police also say they have detained two more suspects in the embassy bombing. The suspects were not named, but are believed to have been involved in transporting the explosives used to make the bomb.

The head of Indonesia's police, General Da'i Bachtiar, confirmed that Nurdin Mohammed Top's wife was detained.

He also said that they have found a number of associates of the prime suspects in the embassy bombing, and that many of them are helping police put together a picture of the movements of the bomb before the attack.

Prosecutors in Jakarta say they are preparing to take the alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, to court. He is likely to be charged under Indonesia's anti-terrorism law for involvement in the Marriott Hotel blasts.

Dozens of JI members have been rounded up over the past two years, but Nurdin Mohammed and the group's alleged master bomb-maker, Azahari Husin, remain at large.

Analysts say that, although the group has been severely weakened by arrests, attacks like the embassy bombing need only a relatively small group to carry them out, and that while men like Nurdin Mohammed Top and Azahari Husin remain at large, the risk will also remain.