Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Radical Indonesian Cleric Arrested in Terror Plot

Via MSNBC (AP) -

A radical Islamic cleric was back in jail Monday after police said they had evidence he not only inspired al-Qaida linked militants with his fiery sermons but helped set up a new terror cell that was plotting attacks on hotels and embassies in Indonesia's capital.

They said they found a bomb-making laboratory and evidence of at least two powerful test blasts in a nearby mountain range.

Abu Bakar Bashir, who has been arrested twice before and spent several years in jail, was heading home after preaching in the West Java town of Ciamis when the anti-terror unit swooped, breaking the rear window of his van after his bodyguards tried to obstruct them, officials and family members said.


The 71-year-old is best known as one of the co-founders and spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked network responsible for a string of suicide bombings in the world's most populous Muslim nation, including the 2002 attacks on Bali island that killed 202 people, most of them Western tourists.


Bashir was accused of providing funds for a new terror cell in westernmost Aceh province and playing "an active role in preparing the initial plans for their military struggle," he said, without elaborating.

The cleric also allegedly helped appoint its leaders, including Dulmatin, an alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings, who was killed in a March raid, and "routinely received reports from their field coordinator."

Police have one week to file official charges.

More than 100 suspects have been rounded up — including five on Sunday — since authorities discovered Al-Qaida in Aceh's jihadi training camp in February. Several large caches of assault weapons, ammunition and explosives also have been seized.


Recently, Bashir formed a new radical movement, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, or JAT, described by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group as an "ostensibly above-ground organization" that embraced individuals with known ties to fugitive extremists.

Bashir came under renewed police scrutiny in May after three JAT members were arrested for allegedly raising funds for al-Qaida in Aceh.


Wikipedia: Jemahh Islamiyah (JI)

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