Hunt for top ultra resumes


DNA tests showed that the  man killed in a 16-hour shootout with the police last week was not the suspected terrorist leader with links to Al Qaeda.

The terrorist leader Noordin Muhammad top is suspected of masterminding the deadliest attacks to plague Indonesia in recent years, including the twin suicide bombings last month at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. Those coordinated blasts killed seven people, six of them foreigners.

With the elusive Noordin still at large despite an intensive region-wide manhunt, analysts said his stature among militants and jihadi elements in the region was likely to increase with Wednesday’s revelation that he was still alive.

Noordin, 41, was a recruiter, strategist and senior leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the regional Islamist terror network, and in a video in 2005 he had claimed to be Al Qaeda’s representative in Southeast Asia. After that, however, he broke away to form his own group Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad or ‘Organization for the Base of Jihad’.
$100,000 reward

Pictures of Noordin under the heading “dicari” — wanted — have been put up all across Java and a reward of more than $100,000 has been posted for his capture.
Eddy Saparwoko, head of the national victim identification unit, said at a televised news conference in Jakarta on Wednesday that DNA tests identified the man from the shootout as Ibrohim, a florist who had worked in both Jakarta hotels and helped the suicide bombers carry out their attacks.

The DNA tests were conducted with samples from Ibrohim’s family members in West Java and from Noordin’s son Johor.

The National Police spokesman Nanan Soekarna, said Ibrohim had planned, organized and directed the hotel attacks. Poor-quality footage from a Marriott security camera that was presented on Wednesday by the police showed a man loading packages from a small truck into a cargo-delivery bay at the hotel. The police said the man was Ibrohim and the packages held explosives.

Soekarna said Ibrohim was intent on becoming a suicide bomber himself, with the home of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as his purported target. That plan was foiled last week when security forces raided two alleged terrorist houses.

Full-blown siege
One of the raids, on a farmhouse in central Java, was a full-blown siege, although in the aftermath only one body was recovered by the police — that of Ibrohim, according to the tests announced on Wednesday. It was still not clear on Wednesday whether Noordin had ever been in the besieged house, or whether he had managed to escape the firefight, as he had done before when apparently cornered..
The New York Times

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