Friday, July 17, 2009

Terror experts warned hardliners would attack

TERRORISM specialists warned just two days ago that splinter groups from Jemaah Islamiah could bomb Western targets in Indonesia to re-establish their credibility.
Analysts of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said leadership tensions within JI and the release from prison of more than 100 of its members raised the possibility that they would try to re-energise the organisation through attacks.

JI had been under great pressure from police and security operations since the first Bali bombings and it was no longer a cohesive organisation with a clear, unified leadership structure.

But several senior JI leaders remained at large, including the head of its most violent group, Noordin Top, its military commander Zulkarnaen, bomb-making specialist Dulmatin and recruitment expert Umar Patek.
These figures provided rallying points for young Indonesians, some of them radicalised in prison.

Those responsible for yesterday's attacks were likely to be a fringe minority, even within a radical movement like JI. The emergence of hardened, experienced militants from the conflict in the southern Philippines and the recent release from jails of JI members who had become ostracised by the mainstream group were breeding a new generation of radicalised fringe groups that advocated al-Qaeda-style attacks. Unreformed members of the group just released include Sunarto bin Kartodiharjo (alias Adung).

Members of the hardline faction are widely believed to have organised the second Bali bombings in 2005. The global intelligence group Stratfor said JI's spiritual leader, the cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, appeared in a video on a radical Islamist website on June 14, calling for renewed international jihad.

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