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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 11:35 GMT
Indonesia steps up militant hunt
An Indonesian policeman stands behind a gate with pictures of fugitive main suspects of several bombings in Indonesia, Malaysians Noordin M Top and Azahari Husin displayed in Jakarta, 26 October 2005.
Indonesia has been looking for Noordin Mohammad Top for years
Indonesia has launched a massive police hunt for Malaysian militant Noordin Mohammad Top after his close associate, Azahari Husin, was killed on Wednesday.

Thousands of officers joined the hunt after police narrowly missed catching him in the town of Semarang, in Java.

Azahari and Noordin Mohammad Top are key figures in Jemaah Islamiah (JI), blamed for a string of bombings including the 2002 Bali attacks.

Azahari, a bomb maker, was killed after police tracked him down in East Java.

Noordin Mohammad Top is believed to be one of JI's key recruiters and financers, and has been accused of involvement in the 2003 attack on Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel, and a bombing on the Australian embassy in 2004.

"Our goal is now to apprehend Noordin Mohammad Top and uncover other terrorist networks," said Indonesian police chief General Sutanto.

Sutanto said security forces had traced Noordin Mohammad Top to the town of Semarang, 380km (240 miles) east of Jakarta, and had hoped to capture him at the same time as Azahari.

"But Noordin Top escaped from his house. In the rush, he left behind his personal belongings," he said.

Police said they found a video including footage of three suicide bombers who attacked Bali in October, killing 20 people.

"They said their action was for a noble cause and they would go to heaven, Sutanto said.

Appeal for help

Police officers were knocking on doors, checking cars, and combing railway and bus stations in central Indonesia, according to the Associated Press.

Ansyaad Mbai, head of the counter-terrorism desk at the chief security minister's office, called on the public to co-operate, noting that neighbours had noticed strange activity at the house where Azahari was staying, but "only stepped forward after the [police] raid".

"At times, terrorists are merely seen as the enemy of the police when they should be seen as the public enemy, the enemy of the nation, of religion. Sometimes, terrorists are even considered as heroes," he told Reuters news agency.

Police said Azahari's body was ready to be sent to his family in Malaysia if they requested it. His identity was confirmed through fingerprinting, and there was no need to do a DNA test, police said.

About 30 bombs were also found in the house, along with two computers which chief police detective Lt-Gen Makbul Padmanegara could provide clues to future targets.




SEE ALSO:
Bali bomb maker's luck runs out
10 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Jemaah Islamiah split but still deadly
03 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Bali suspects on most-wanted list
02 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Militant jailed for Jakarta bomb
22 Sep 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Bali death toll set at 202
19 Feb 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Bali 'mastermind' evades police
07 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's bomb-makers at large
24 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific


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