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Indonesia Police Claim Clear Link Between Jakarta Hotel Bombing and JI Group - 2003-08-19

Indonesian police have made a clear link between the terror group Jemaah Islamiyah and the bombing of a luxury hotel in Jakarta. The police say a suspected JI member built the hotel bomb and also assembled the explosives used in last October's deadly attack on Bali. There also are indications that funds for JI operations came from a suspected member of the al-Qaida network. The police think Azahari bin Husin built the car bomb that exploded at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta earlier this month, and also assembled the bomb that killed 202 people in Bali last October.

Indonesia's chief of detectives, General Erwin Mapasseng, said Mr. Azahari worked alongside the suspected suicide bomber in the hotel attack. Mr. Azahari is believed to be a member of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is accused of orchestrating the Bali attack.

General Mapasseng said authorities know the explosives used in the hotel blast were taken via the city of Bengkulu and stored in the suicide bomber's house. Then he and Mr. Azahari partially built the bomb there. A van carrying the bomb was driven to the hotel and was detonated just after mid-day August 5. Twelve people were killed by the blast, and scores were injured. Police say Mr. Azahari, a university professor from Malaysia, was among a group of 17 involved in the hotel bombing. He and two other key suspects, Malaysian Noordin Muhammad Top, and Indonesian Dulmatin remain at large. Mr. Noordin and Mr. Dulmatin also are wanted in the Bali attack. Police say they are also looking into the possible role of Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali. He is suspected of being an al-Qaida operative and a leader Jemaah Islamiyah. Mr. Hambali was captured in Thailand last week, and handed over to American custody. Authorities in Indonesia are investigating his recent actions, including the possibility that he provided money for JI. General Mapasseng said police are checking reports that Mr. Hambali received $45,000 in June for use in operations in Indonesia. He added that authorities do not know if any of the money was used to finance the Marriott bombing. Police also gave more details about 10 suspects linked to the Marriott bombing. Six were already in custody at the time of the blast for alleged links to the Bali bombing. Police say the other four have confessed to minor roles in the hotel plot.

Jemaah Islamiyah reportedly wants to create an Islamic state in Southeast Asia. It is suspected in a number of bombings and foiled terrorist plots in the region.