Indonesian commandos raided a house in central Java, killing Noordin Muhammad Top, the fugitive Islamist leader and the suspected mastermind of bombings in Bali and Jakarta, security officials said Thursday.
The National Police commander, Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, confirmed at a news conference that Mr. Noordin had been killed. He was identified using fingerprint tests, the commander said.
Mr. Noordin, 41, a Malaysian-born extremist, was once a senior leader and fund-raiser with the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. In a video in 2005 he claimed to be Al Qaeda’s representative in Southeast Asia, although he later broke from Jemaah Islamiyah to form his own group, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad, or Organization for the Base of Jihad.
A spokesman for the national police, Maj. Gen. Nanan Soekarna, said weapons, explosives and hand grenades were seized after the six-hour siege in which three other suspected terrorist were killed and three captured. He also said one trooper had been wounded.
The raid, which began late Wednesday night, was part of a regional dragnet for Mr. Noordin and other militants whom law enforcement agencies blame for bombings in Bali in 2005 that killed more than 20 people. He was also implicated in the coordinated suicide attacks on two luxury American hotels in Jakarta. Those bombings in July killed seven people, six of them foreigners, as well as the two bombers. More than 50 people were wounded.
Videotape from MetroTV early Thursday showed commandos from Densus 88, or Special Detachment 88, the counterterrorism unit of the national police, gathered outside the house after the raid. Later, the station broadcast images of two black coroner’s vans pulling away from the house, which was outside the city of Solo, on the main island of Java.
Police and security forces had been searching for Mr. Noordin for nearly 10 years.
The Indonesian police thought they had trapped him in a farmhouse in central Java last month. After a 16-hour firefight, however, they recovered only one body. It remains unclear whether Mr. Noordin had been in the besieged house, or whether he had managed to escape the firefight, as he had done before when apparently cornered. Forensic tests later confirmed that the dead man was named Ibrohim, an associate of Mr. Noordin who had worked as a florist at both Jakarta hotels. They said Mr. Ibrohim had planned and directed the hotel bombings under the tutelage of Mr. Noordin.
For some background on the last standoff....
July 20th - Indonesia Arrests Two JI Members
August 8th - Noordin Mohammed Top Commits Suicide During Standoff