Thursday, July 23, 2009

Indonesian Unaware Husband was Noordin Mohammed Top - Jemaah Islamiya's Bomb Maker & Financier

Via Reuters -

The Indonesian wife of Noordin Top, the region's most-wanted militant because of his role in a string of bomb attacks in Indonesia, did not know his real name and thought he was a teacher, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Malaysian-born Top is one of the prime suspects behind last week's near-simultaneous suicide bomb attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, two luxury hotels in Jakarta's main business district, which killed nine people and injured 53, including Indonesians and foreigners.

Police and security analysts said the attacks bore the hallmarks of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the militant Islamist group responsible for previous attacks in Jakarta and on the resort island of Bali, or of a splinter group headed by Top.

Arina Rochmah was detained by the police under Indonesia's terrorism law, her lawyer Achmad Michdan told Reuters, adding that she could be charged for harbouring or hiding information about a terror suspect.

Michdan said Rochmah had no knowledge that her husband, Abdul Halim, was Noordin Top, although she admitted he was seldom at home due to his work teaching at an Islamic boarding school in South Sulawesi.

He said that police took Rochmah, 25, her two children and her mother on Wednesday from an Islamic boarding school founded by her father in Cilacap, in central Java.

Michdan added that Rochmah had come to Jakarta and asked for legal protection a few weeks ago, after the police raided the family's house. Police said that a bomb found at the house was identical to those used in Friday's blasts.

Under the terrorism law, police have seven days to declare someone a suspect.


Having fleeing from Malaysia after the government cracked down on Islamists following the September 11th attacks, he married using an assumed name, Abdurrachman Aufi.

In early 2006, Noordin Top is believed to have drifted away from the main Jemaah Islamiah structure due to a disagreement about attacks on "soft targets", which often kill civilians. Police said he was claiming to lead a previously unknown group called Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad.

In naming the group "Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad," or "Organization for the Base of Jihad," Top has intentionally established a clear association with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, mimicking early moves by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as he was seeking to establish his credibility in Iraq.

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