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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Key Asian terror suspect seized
Hambali: Alleged links to al-Qaeda
The most wanted terror suspect in South-East Asia has been arrested, the White House has announced.

Hambali, the suspected leader of Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), is wanted over a series of bomb attacks in the region over the last three years.

JI members have been linked to last year's Bali bombings and other attacks, and Hambali is alleged to have close ties with al-Qaeda.

Greeting the arrest of Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, US President George W Bush said the US would hunt down its enemies one by one.

"He's a known killer," he said in a speech to troops.

Bali bomb attack
Bomb attack on Marriott Hotel, Jakarta, 12 killed
Bali resort bomb attacks, 12 October 2002, 202 killed
Christmas Eve 2000 attacks on Indonesian churches, 18 killed
January 2001 attacks in the Philippines, 22 killed

"Hambali was one of the world's most lethal terrorists... He is no longer a problem to those of us who love freedom."

The president added that "nearly two-thirds" of known key figures in al-Qaeda - the group accused of the 11 September terror attacks on America - had been either captured or killed.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan described the capture as an "important victory in the global war on terrorism and a significant blow to the enemy".

No details of how Hambali was arrested were immediately available but unconfirmed reports say he was detained in Thailand.

A US official said he was captured this week and was being interrogated in US custody at a secret location.

Only on Thursday, Indonesian police linked Hambali to the bombing of a US-run luxury hotel in Jakarta last week in which 10 people died.

Regional intelligence services believe that Hambali, aged about 40, actually has a seat on al-Qaeda's military committee - the only representative from South-East Asia.

He is accused of arranging a meeting for two of the 11 September hijackers with other al-Qaeda figures in Malaysia in January 2000.

The BBC's Andrew Webb
"It's not just the US and Indonesia that have been hunting Hambali"


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