Local media in Indonesia report the mastermind of the double terrorist
attacks in Jakarta three weeks ago has been killed during a raid in the
center of Java island. He was the most wanted man in the Muslim-dominated
archipelago, and his death, if confirmed, would be a big breakthrough
in the fight against terrorism there.
Police say they are
trying to identify a body found in the house in rural Central Java
after a long gunbattle ended Saturday morning. Some reports say one of
at least two bodies removed from the house is that of Noordin Mohammad
Noordin, a Malaysian native, has been the most wanted man
in Indonesia for the past six years. He has been linked to terror
attacks in Indonesia and to the al-Qaida-linked regional group, Jemaah
Noordin's group has been implicated in the July 17
attacks on the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, which
killed nine people and wounded more than 50.
He narrowly escaped
arrest several times in the past years, but terrorism expert Sidney
Jones from the International Crisis Group, says this time the
Indonesian police has finally managed to capture its long-standing
"I think he has been killed, I got several
confirmations from the police. It doesn't mean the end of terrorism in
Indonesia because even if you got the whole gang that was involved in
the Marriott bomb it still wouldn't mean that you had eliminated
terrorism from Indonesia. But it's a huge step forward," said Jones.
anti-terrorism forces besieged the little house in central Java were
Noordin was believed to be hiding for 17 hours. They launched a
separate raid early Saturday in the Jakarta area, 400 kilometers away.
Security officials say they found 500 kilograms of explosives that they
believe were to be used to make a car bomb for another terror attack.
Sidney Jones says the double raids confirm the high efficiency of the Indonesian anti-terrorism police.
think there was a lot of unnecessary disparaging in the weeks that
followed the 17 of July bombings. But I think the police deserves
praise for getting Noordin less than a month after the bombing took
place," said Jones.
Last month's bombings were a shock for
Indonesians who believed terrorism had been uprooted in the country
because there had been no attacks for four years. But Jones says the
swiftness of police actions shows that Indonesian anti-terror policies
are on the right track.