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Notorious Terrorist's Body Returned to Indonesia

Dozens of people have turned out to welcome home the body of Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi, one of South East Asia's most notorious terrorists. His body was bought back to his hometown in Indonesia after he was shot and killed by security forces in the Philippines Sunday.

The reception given to the body of Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi Thursday is proof of how far the Indonesia government still has to go to win the hearts and minds of Islamic militants.

Less than a week before U.S. President George Bush is due to arrive for a brief visit, al-Ghozi supporters carried banners past his coffin in the town of Madiun describing him as a hero who had been branded a terrorist for his efforts to spread Islam.

Al-Ghozi was shot in the Philippines on Sunday, after three months on the run from a prison sentence for involvement in a December 2000 bombing campaign in Manila in which 22 people died.

His death ended a period of embarrassment for the Philippines police, who began their search for al-Ghozi in July when he apparently walked out of a cell in the heart of police headquarters.

The police say he was killed in a gun battle on the southern island of Mindanao after he failed to stop at a checkpoint and shot at security officers. But local officials have been quoted as saying there was no sign of a firefight.

Al-Ghozi's arrival in Indonesia coincides with the sentencing of another plotter in the Bali bombing. Hutomo Pamugkas, also known as Mubarok, was found guilty of being part of the gang that carried out last October's bombing, in which 202 people died. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The conviction of Mubarok is the latest success for the Indonesian government. Three of the main players in the Bali bombing have already been sentenced to death by firing squad and another to life imprisonment.

In an interview aired Wednesday night, President Bush congratulated Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri on her success in the fight against terrorism. He said Washington is ready to restore ties with Indonesia's military: a move that could prove controversial, given the military's continuing poor record on human rights.