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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 04:04 GMT
Australian police raid terror suspects
Australian police at the scene of the Bali bombing
Australia has banned a group blamed for the Bali bomb
Australian security agents have carried out two raids on the homes of Muslims suspected of having terrorist connections.


There were six or eight uniformed police officers with black helmets, black balaclavas, black flak jackets... like it was from a movie scene

Eyewitness
No arrests were reported to have been made in the two raids - one in Sydney and one in Perth - which have not yet been confirmed by police.

They come after Australia on Sunday declared the Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah a terrorist organisation - allowing the government to use tough anti-terror legislation against suspected members.

Australia believes the group was involved in the bombing of a Bali nightclub earlier this month, in which more than 180 people were killed, including about 90 Australians.

Terror links denied

In the latest raid, on Wednesday, armed officers in stormed the home of an Indonesian Muslim family, an eyewitness said.

"There were six or eight uniformed police officers with black helmets, black balaclavas, black flak jackets... like it was from a movie scene," a neighbour named as Helena told ABC news.

And on Sunday, agents searched the home of a man suspected of being a member of Jemaah Islamiah.


You have got to question the need for people to go in with guns drawn and sledgehammers to break down doors

Stephen Hopper
Stephen Hopper, a lawyer for the man, said his client had no militant connections.

"He would not have anything to do with a terrorist organisation and finds violence an abhorrent concept," he said.

The alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiah, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, has been taken to the Indonesian capital Jakarta for questioning over a series of bomb blasts in December 2000. Mr Ba'asyir denies leading the group.

Mr Hooper said his client may have fallen under suspicion because he had attended lectures by Mr Ba'asyir.

He criticised the security forces' handling of the raid.

"You have got to question the need for people to go in with guns drawn and sledgehammers to break down doors," he said.

The attorney-general is expected to make a statement about police intelligence activities later on Wednesday.

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The BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Jakarta
"It is not clear when the interrogation will begin"

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29 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
28 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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