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Hambali caught in Thailand - Indonesia police source JAKARTA - Indonesia hailed on Friday the capture of Muslim militant leader Hambali, suspected mastermind of last year's deadly Bali blasts, but a top cleric voiced fear that more militants would rise up to take his place. A Thai government minister said that Hambali had been flown to Indonesia to face charges there, but there was no immediate confirmation of this in Jakarta.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda told reporters that the arrest of the suspected chief of the Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant network would enormously aid local and international efforts to combat terror. "He is a big fish, when we talk about terrorist activity in Indonesia, but also in the regional and international context," Wirajuda said.
"That is why we welcome and congratulate those who arrested Hambali. We believe, truly believe, that the arrest of Hambali will strengthen our efforts to combat terrorism." He said President Megawati Sukarnoputri had received a call from Washington to inform her of the arrest, which officials say took place earlier this week in Thailand. In a pre-written speech delivered to parliament on Friday which made no reference to Hambali's arrest, Megawati said Indonesia was determined to continue its battle against terror.
"We will continue to fight terrorism and will never give up. We will cooperate with other countries in fighting terrorism," she said. "The tears of victims from the terror bombs in Kuta, Bali were not even dry...and we have been shaken by a terror bomb in Jakarta," she said, referring to last week's car bomb attack on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people.
There have been warnings from various quarters in recent days of a possible fresh attack this weekend in Indonesia, which celebrates its national day on August 17. The leader of Indonesia's largest Muslim group welcomed the capture, but sounded a warning that "thousands of Hambalis" could emerge if Washington failed to change its policies in the Middle East, perceived by many Muslims as favouring Israel.
"Anyone who creates terror has to be confronted by the law, regardless of his or her religion," Hasyim Muzadi, head of the Nahdlatul Ulama, told Reuters.

Thousands of Hambalis

"I think the capture only means one Hambali (is in custody), but thousands of Hambalis would emerge if these factors are not addressed." The United States said on Thursday that Hambali, an Indonesian preacher also known as Riduan Isamuddin, had been captured this week in Southeast Asia.
Various officials have blamed the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group, of which Hambali is a suspected leader, for the nightclub bombings on Indonesia's resort island which killed 202 people, as well as the Marriott hotel blast in Jakarta.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa told Reuters Jakarta hoped cooperation among the countries looking for Hambali would enable him to be "held accountable for his heinous acts in the past through the due process of the law". Natalegawa said Indonesia also wanted "to insure that we can extract information from him (Hambali) for possible future terrorist acts that he may have wanted to commit".
Wirajuda said that while Indonesia had no extradition treaty with the United States, he expected Indonesian officials would have access to the captured militant leader. Aged about 40, Hambali has evaded police for years, travelling between Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand and Malaysia. A U.S. official said he had been in Afghanistan in the mid- to late-1980s and was believed to have met al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at that time. (With additional reporting by Telly Nathalia and Karima Anjani)



Posted in Terrorism @ 15 August 2003 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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