Thursday, November 19, 2009

Indonesia's Anti-terrorism Unit Warns of New Cells

Indonesia still faces a key risk of new militant attacks as Islamic radicals have set up new cells in recent years and some bomb experts remain at large. Police have killed or captured a string of suspected militants, including Southeast Asia's most-wanted fugitive, Noordin Mohammad Top, since suicide bombings on two luxury hotels in Jakarta in July shattered a four-year lull in attacks.

Indonesia’s U.S. trained anti-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, advise new attacks could occur at any time in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Many terrorists responsible for bombings in Indonesia are still at large. Many of them are still preparing themselves, it seems, and many new cells have been formed. Those on the run included expert bomb makers. Since 2000 police had detained 455 militants, of which 352 had been convicted. More than 200 had been released from jail, while 12 militants were still in police detention facing a legal process.

Al Qaeda helped fund the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2003 J.W. Marriott hotel bombings in Jakarta, which killed scores of Indonesians and Westerners. A string of bombings in Indonesia since 2000 has been blamed on Jemaah Islamiah, a regional militant network, although violent splinter groups such as the one led by Top are now believed to be the key threats for new attacks.

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