Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terror mastermind said among four dead in Indonesia raid

Armed Indonesian police stormed an Islamic militant hideout early Thursday in a raid strongly suspected to have left terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top dead.

A decapitated corpse believed to be Noordin's was among four bodies recovered after the early morning raid on a village house in Central Java, an officer of the elite Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad reported.

Loud explosions and gunfire were heard as police raided the rented house at around 7:00 am (0000 GMT) after a nine-hour siege on the outskirts of Solo city, a stronghold in Central Java of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) radical network.

Noordin allegedly also masterminded a 2003 attack on the Marriott that killed 12 people, as well as the Australian embassy bombing and 2005 attacks on tourist restaurants on the holiday island of Bali. Jemaah Islamiyah's ultimate goal is to unite Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and the southern Philippines into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

Noordin's faction is estranged from JI's mainstream, which has rejected spectacular attacks. But analysts say he has been able to fall back on a network of sympathetic schools and families while continuing to recruit.

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