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4 Arrested in Connection with Australian Embassy Bombing - 2004-09-18

Indonesian police say they have formally arrested four individuals suspected of involvement in last week's bomb attack at the Australian embassy in Jakarta. However, they say the alleged masterminds of the attack are still at large.

Indonesian Police Chief Dai' Bachtiar says the four suspects will be tried under recently enacted anti-terrorism legislation.

He told reporters Saturday that authorities were still looking for the alleged masterminds of the attack, Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top. The two are believed to be leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah group, which has been linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Last Thursday's attack at the front gate of the Australian embassy in central Jakarta's Kuningan District killed nine people and wounded more than 170.

General Bachtiar said one of those detained is suspected of direct involvement in the attack, while three others are viewed as accessories.

"Before the Kuningan bombing, we detained quite a few people and to our own surprise we found that three of the people are related to the Kunigan bombing and they will be charged with hiding Dr. Azahari," he said.

Officials issued a drawing of a man who is believed to have bought the truck that was used in the bombing. General Bachtiar said several other people have been detained for questioning but are not officially charged.

It was the third major terrorist attack in Indonesia in less than two years. The first, on the island of Bali in 2002, killed 202 people and the second, last year at Jakarta's Marriott Hotel, killed 12. The attacks have been blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in the region.

The alleged spiritual leader of JI, Abu Baker Bashir Saturday reportedly condemned the latest attack and offered condolences to the victims.

Speaking through a lawyer, Bashir also accused Indonesian authorities of trying to frame him for the attacks and denied that he had any connection to them.

Bashir was arrested several weeks after the Bali bombing but officials said there was insufficient evidence to try him under laws that existed at that time. However, he served subsequently a 15-month prison sentence for unrelated immigration violations.

He was re-arrested recently as he completed that sentence. Officials say he will be tried under new anti-terrorism laws passed after the Bali bombing.