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Indonesia calls on religious leaders to help fight terrorism DENPASAR - Religious leaders must condemn terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia's vice president said Friday, after police warned that a new generation of Islamic militants were behind the latest suicide bombings on Bali island.

Two key leaders of the al-Qaida-linked regional group Jemaah Islamiyah are suspected of masterminding the near-simultaneous attacks that killed 22 people, including the three bombers, but authorities say they may be working with other groups or individuals.

File photo of Noordin dating from 2003.
File photo of Noording dating from 2003.
Though Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top are said to be motivated by anger at U.S foreign policy toward the Muslim world, most of the victims in the Saturday night attacks on three tourist-packed restaurants were Indonesians. "Suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq are perhaps understandable because there is an 'opponent' there," Vice President Yusuf Kalla said after Friday prayers in the capital Jakarta.
"But here in Indonesia, it makes no sense. Why do they kill their own people, who have done nothing wrong?" he asked, calling on Islamic leaders to condemn the practice as being "not in line with the religion we hold." Police so far have announced few breaks in the investigation, but spokesman Brig. Gen. Sunarko Danu Artanto said Thursday they have taken DNA samples from several family members of the suspected suicide bombers.

Photographs of their severed heads, found meters (yards) from the blast sites, have been circulated in the media nationwide and shown to several jailed Jemaah Islamiyah members. So far, none of the militants have claimed to recognize them. Bali police chief Maj. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika said the bombers were likely recently recruited specifically to launch the weekend attacks on three crowded cafes on Bali. "There is an indication they are a new generation," he told reporters Friday.

Ali Imron, imprisoned for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, told the Jawa Pos newspaper they could be "freshly recruited." And Nasir Abbas, who trained scores of militants in the 1990s, told The Associated Press he had never seen them. Identifying the bombers could help police track down the masterminds of the attacks.

Malaysian fugitives Azahari and Noordin are also believed to have been behind the Oct. 12 nightclub bombings on Bali in 2002, and the 2003 and 2004 blasts at the J.W. Marriott hotel and the Australian Embassy, both in Jakarta, that together killed 22 people. Police said they intended to boost security on the island _ already high in the aftermath of the weekend blasts _ for a memorial service next Wednesday to mark the third anniversary of the 2002 attacks. Eighty-eight of the victims were Australians.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is due to attend the event, details of which have not been released. In previous years, many relatives of those killed and survivors returned to the island for the memorial. "We will mobilize the forces in the field and guard the entrances to Bali," said police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sunarko Danu Artanto.

Ken Conboy, a Jakarta-based security consultant, said a regional crackdown on the Jemaah Islamiyah resulted in a string of arrests that has decimated the organization's structure, which had previously been spread out across Southeast Asia and Australia. "These days, they're tapping into a slew of other networks ... that are willing to take up the anti-West cause that the JI was really the one that pioneered," said the author of an upcoming book on Southeast Asian terrorism.

Even their tactics appear to have changed. If Jemaah Islamiyah is involved in the Saturday night bombings, it also appears they have reduced to softer targets, smaller bombs and cruder methods. Most of the previous attacks were carried out with car bombs, but Saturday's bombers were explosive belts or backpacks.


Link to related event Related event:
Bali tourist areas hit by bombs

Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism') Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism'):
05 October 2005 · Police seek five over Bali attacks
04 October 2005 · Australia issues new Bali warning
04 October 2005 · Bali police holding 'bomb suspect'
03 October 2005 · Funerals of Bali blast victims begin
03 October 2005 · Manhunt launched for Bali bomb suspects


Posted in Terrorism @ 08 October 2005 09:42 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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