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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 14:31 GMT
Bali attack 'targeted Australians'
Alleged Bali bomb mastermind Imam Samudra (c)
Imam Samudra reportedly gave 13 reasons for the attack
Australians were deliberately targeted in last year's Bali bombings, according to transcripts of police interviews with suspects, which have been aired on Australian television.

Australia has taken part in efforts to separate East Timor from Indonesia which was an international conspiracy by followers of the Cross

Bali suspect Imam Samudra
Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Four Corners current affairs programme said it had obtained records of confessions made to police by several of the alleged bombers, which was aired on Monday.

The programme said it had a transcript of suspect Imam Samudra telling police that Australia was punished for its close relationship with the US, and for its involvement in East Timor's transition to independence from Indonesia in 1999.

Eighty-eight of the 190 or more victims in the 12 October bombing were Australian, but it has previously been reported that the bombers' target was Westerners in general.

Amrozi, the first of the Bali suspects to be arrested, has told police that he was surprised that so many Australians were killed in the attack, as he thought the target was Americans.

Reasons listed

Imam Samudra listed 13 reasons for the attack, including revenge for what he called "the barbarity of the US army of the cross and its allies England, Australia and so on," and their role in the war in Afghanistan, Four Corners said.

He added that: "Australia has taken part in efforts to separate East Timor from Indonesia which was an international conspiracy by followers of the (Christian) Cross," according to the ABC transcript.

The programme also said that Imam Samudra set up a website after the attack which gave reasons for the bombing.

"For all you Christian infidels, if you say that this killing was barbaric and cruel, and happened to innocent civilians from your countries, then you should know that you do crueller things than that," the programme quoted the website as saying.

However, Indonesian police have said that they found nothing incriminating on Imam Samudra's laptop.

Capacity diminished

Commenting on the report, Australia's federal police chief, whose investigators have been working with Indonesian police on the Bali case, warned that several key suspects were still at large.

Mick Keelty said these included Dulmatin, the suspected bomb detonator, Idris who is thought to have been one of the drivers on the night, and two bomb experts, Doctor Azahari and Malaysian-born Noor din Mohd Top.

"They are (a threat), although I think it's very centralised to Indonesia or the Indonesian archipelago for the time being," Mr Keelty told ABC radio.

Mr Keelty also said that their capacity to attack had been diminished by the arrests of others in their network.

A total of 29 suspects have been arrested so far in connection with the bombing, and Indonesian police say the first trials could take place this month.

Class action

The families of five Australians who were killed in the Bali blasts said on Monday they were planning to join a US class action against alleged backers of the al-Qaeda network.

The action is being led by some of the families of the victims of the 11 September terror attacks. Its targets include international banks, Islamic charities, and members of the Saudi royal family.

"The objective is to bankrupt terrorism by exposing those who finance terror and stripping them of their assets," US lawyer Richard Middleton whose firm is lead counsel in the action said on Monday.


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31 Jan 03 | Asia-Pacific
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