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Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Saturday, 8 August 2009 11:22 UK

Terror suspect 'killed in Java'

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Anti-terrorism police stormed the house almost a day after surrounding it

One of South-East Asia's most wanted terror suspects is reported to have been killed by Indonesian police.

An official in Jakarta and local TV say Noordin Mohamed Top died when police stormed his hideout in central Java after a 17-hour siege.

Bodies were seen being removed from the house but police have not confirmed Noordin was one of those killed.

Malaysian-born Noordin is suspected of orchestrating the Bali bombings of 2005 and other major attacks.

They include the bombings of two Jakarta hotels last month that killed nine people and injured scores of others.

Police said the anti-terror operation in the Temanggung district followed the arrest on Friday of several suspected militants loyal to Noordin.

Police outside the house raided in Bekasi (8 August 2009)
About 500kg of explosives were seized at a house in Bekasi, near Jakarta

In a separate incident, police said they had killed two suspected militants in a raid on a house in the Bekasi area, near the capital.

Five others were arrested and up to 500kg of explosives were seized.

Gen Bambang Hendarso Danuri said the two men had been shot because they were about to detonate hand-held bombs.

They were would-be suicide bombers from a cell loyal to Noordin who were preparing to attack "special targets" in two weeks, he added.

Workshop raid

Almost a day after surrounding it, members of Indonesia's elite anti-terrorism unit entered the remote house in a rice paddy field outside Temanggung at 0945 (0245 GMT) by blowing in one of the doors.

Several minutes later, after further explosions and exchanges of gunfire, officers were seen leaving with their helmets off and shaking hands with each other.

Noordin Top
Police efforts to find Noordin have been focused on Java

Police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said police believed Noordin and two or three of his followers were inside, but could not say whether they had been killed.

Authorities closed off the area, but ambulances were later seen arriving and two body bags were taken from inside the building.

On Friday evening, Mr Soekarna said two men had been arrested in a workshop in a market in Temanggung, and that they had led police to the house nearby, as well as the building in Bekasi.

Noordin was accused of being the key recruiter and financier for the regional Islamist militant group, Jemaah Islamiah.

He is thought to have been behind bomb attacks on the Jakarta Marriott in 2003 and the Australian embassy in 2004, and also on a series of restaurants in Bali in 2005 in which more than 20 died.

A lull in attacks since 2005 came to an end in July with the suicide bombings on two hotels in Jakarta that killed nine people and wounded 53, raising concerns that Noordin was becoming active again.

Correspondents say the search for Noordin has focused on central Java because he is believed to have a network of sympathisers there.

He is the Indonesian police's main target and there is a $100,000 (£59,000) reward for information leading to his capture.



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SEE ALSO
Indonesian Islamists 'a threat'
21 May 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Obituary: Noordin Mohamed Top
17 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
An attack waiting to happen?
17 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific


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