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 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 11:59 GMT
Muslim militants linked to Bali bomb
Bali bombing aftermath
The attack 'was part of a plot against US interests'
Indonesia's police chief has formally blamed the regional Muslim militant group Jemaah Islamiah for the bombings in Bali last October.

General Da'i Bachtiar told Indonesia's parliament that Jemaah Islamiah (JI) leaders decided to attack the holiday island as part of a plan to hit US interests in Indonesia and Singapore.

Bali bomb investigation
At least 17 detained
About nine more sought
First trial could take place in February
The decision to target US operations was made at a meeting in Bangkok last February, Mr Bachtiar said.

At least 193 people died in the bomb attacks on two nightclubs in Bali. Several people are under arrest on suspicion of involvement and police have said the first court case could be held next month.

Mr Bachtiar has previously hinted that JI could have been involved in the attacks and linked some of the alleged perpetrators with the group, but he has never before formally blamed JI as a whole.

The police chief also said that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who has been arrested on suspicion of treason and involvement in a separate bombing case, gave his "blessing" to the anti-US operation.

Al-Qaeda link

Mr Bachtiar told a parliamentary security committee that a Malaysian explosives expert called Azahari designed and supervised the making of a car bomb that exploded in front of the Sari nightclub.

Police have said they are hunting Azahari, along with about nine other suspects who are still at large.

Mr Bachtiar said that another Malaysian - Wan Min Wan Mat - acted as an intermediary in the exchange of $35,000 used to finance the attack.

He said this money came from Hambali, who is believed to be JI's former operations chief and is wanted for a string of bomb attacks across the region.

The US and other governments have linked JI with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.


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14 Jan 03 | Asia-Pacific
23 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
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