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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 17:13 GMT
Suspect admits Manila bomb plot
Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi is escorted to the Philippines Department of Justice by guards
Mr Al-Ghozi is being questioned by prosecutors
An Indonesian man suspected of links to the al-Qaeda network has said he planned almost-simultaneous bombings that killed 22 people in the Philippines in 2000.

Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi on Wednesday changed an earlier statement that he had only helped obtain funds to finance the bombings.

The truth is I planned the bombing

Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi
In his new statement he told Philippine prosecutors he planned the bombings with the help of local and foreign Muslim extremists.

Mr Al-Ghozi is believed to be a bomb expert for the militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which analysts say wants to establish an Islamic state to include parts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

He was arrested in the Philippine capital Manila last month following a tip-off by Singapore police.

Thirteen members of the Jemaah Islamiyah group were recently arrested in Singapore - eight of whom are suspected by police of having received al-Qaeda training in Afghanistan.

The group is suspected of being behind a foiled plan to attack western targets in Singapore.

Philippine bombings

Mr Al-Ghozi is alleged to have been involved in five bomb blasts in Manila on 30 December 2000.

Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, wearing an orange prison shirt and sitting handcuffed, answers a prosecutor's question
Police want Mr Al-Ghozi charged with murder and attempted murder
As well as the 22 deaths, 120 people were injured in the blasts, which struck a train, a bus, an abandoned petrol station, an airport car park and a park.

In an earlier sworn statement, Mr Al-Ghozi said he obtained funds from the leader of a Muslim extremist group in Malaysia.

But under questioning from prosecutors on Wednesday, he went much further, saying he plotted the bombings as revenge against a government crackdown on a Muslim separatist group in the southern Philippines.

"The truth is I planned the bombings," Mr Al-Ghozi said on Wednesday.

However he said he had intended that no-one got hurt.

Mr Al-Ghozi has been receiving advice from a lawyer and an Indonesian Embassy official.

Prosecutors at the Philippine Department of Justice are investigating police evidence against Mr Al-Ghozi to decide whether to press charges.

He has already been charged with possessing fake passports and for storing bombs.

Police said Mr Al-Ghozi provided the information that led to the discovery of the explosives, which were buried in a backyard in southern General Santos city, about 1,000-kilometres (625 miles) south-east of Manila.

He has also been charged for possessing explosive materials in his Manila home, but prosecutors dismissed that on a technicality.

See also:

04 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia 'not to extradite terror suspect'
22 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian police summon cleric
07 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Singapore foils 'bombing campaign'
04 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia holds 'militant Muslims'
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