Friday, August 07, 2009

Police hunt Jakarta bomb suspect : Noordin M Top got caught in the shootout in Central Java?

Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific -
Police hunt Jakarta bomb suspect

Noordin Top, a Malaysian, is wanted in connection with several bomb attacks in Indonesia [AFP]

Indonesian police hunting Noordin Mohammed Top, the man wanted in connection with the recent bombing of two luxury hotels in Jakarta, have been involved in a shootout in Central Java.

Local media reported the incident was ongoing on Friday, with local sources telling Al Jazeera that Noordin was likely in the village where the shooting was taking place.

Nanan Soekarna, the national police spokesman, said that police were involved in a shooting incident with suspected Islamic fighters.

It was earlier reported, though without official confirmation, that Noordin had been arrested.

"Local media is saying that [it is] 80 per cent sure, Noordin Top has been engaged in a shootout with the police for nearly four hours in a place called Temanggung in Central Java, and shooting is still going on," Al Jazeera's Steph Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said.

"He has apparently been hiding in a village close to this place."

Deadly bombings

Noordin is one of two people suspected of being involved in the blasts at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the Indonesian capital last month.

Nine people were killed and more than 50 others injured in the blasts on July 17.

While Noordin has not been officially named as being behind the Jakarta bombings, officials and analysts have made clear he is the chief suspect.

Vaessen said: "It's still not confirmed that he was actually connected to the latest bombings at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotel but ... according to terror experts, there's only one man in Indonesia who's capable of doing it

Noordin was a key member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an al-Qaeda-linked group that wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia.

But his group broke away from JI after an alleged falling-out with the leadership over the targeting of civilians.

JI is blamed, among other attacks, for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing that killed 202 people.

Noordin is thought to have been behind attacks on the Jakarta Marriott in 2003 and the Australian embassy in 2004, and also on a series of restaurants in Bali in 2005 in which more than 20 people were killed.

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