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2 Malaysians Charged in Philippines Bombing - 2002-09-04

Philippine officials say that testimony from two suspects in a fatal Manila bombing two years ago has led them to two Malaysian men with alleged links to al-Qaida.

The Philippines state prosecutor says that Fathur al-Ghozi and Hussain Ramos have given enough evidence to prosecute two Malaysian men for the bombing in Manila, which left 22 dead two years ago.

The Malaysians, Faiz Abu Bakar Bafana and Riduan Isamuddin, are believed to be members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant Islamic group in Southeast Asia. Authorities in Malaysia have linked Isamuddin to Osama bin Laden and two of the September 11 hijackers.

State prosecutor Robert Lao says he has charged Faiz Abu Bakar and Riduan Isamuddin with possessing illegal explosives. He said al-Ghozi and Mr. Ramos testified the two Malaysians recruited them, helped get the explosives and gave them bank cards to fund their activities.

'Basically what they produced here, what they gave me, were the ATM cards used by al-Ghozi using three different aliases in withdrawing funds given by Fiaz and also sort of diagrams for the bomb," said Mr. Lao.

Al-Gozi, an Indonesian, has been convicted of charges tied to the bombing and is serving a 12-year sentence. He also has implicated Mr. Ramos, a Philippine citizen, in an alleged plot to attack Western embassies and businesses in Singapore revealed last year. Mr. Ramos has not yet been convicted of any offenses.