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Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 11:50 UK

Bomber not dead, say Indonesians

Nanan Soekarna shows a picture of killed alleged militant Ibrohim, 12/08
Police said Ibrohim was a florist at the hotels

Police hunting the suspected mastermind of Indonesia's hotel bombings, Noordin Mohamed Top, have said a man shot dead in a weekend raid was not him.

DNA tests identified the man as one of Noordin's accomplices in the attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on 17 July, police said.

Earlier reports had suggested the dead man was Malaysian-born Noordin.

His is one of Asia's most wanted men, and has been blamed for a string of attacks including the 2005 Bali blast.

FROM BBC WORLD SERVICE

The BBC's Rebecca Henschke, in Jakarta, says police are trying to play down their disappointment, but the news that Noordin was not killed will be a major blow for them.

They have been hunting him for seven years.

'Explosive smuggler'

Police named the dead man as Ibrohim and said he had worked as a florist at both of the hotels that were attacked by suicide bombers.

Nine people were killed in the attacks.

"Ibrohim was a planner who was always present in the meetings with Noordin Top," police spokesman Nanan Soekarna told a news conference.

Police released new security camera footage showing Ibrohim escorting the alleged Marriott bomber around the hotel on 8 July, and later bringing bomb-making material into the hotel's staff-only loading bay.

Floral tributes left at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta following the 17 July bombings
This year's July bombings were an ugly reminder of past attacks

Mr Soekarna added that the militants were planning an attack on the house of President Susilo Bambang Yudohyono, and claimed Ibrohim was going to be a suicide bomber in that operation.

On Saturday police mounted a siege of a farmhouse in Temanggung, central Java, after a tip-off suggested Noordin was hiding out there.

Initial reports suggested Noordin had been killed after an hours-long shoot-out.

But analysts had doubted the claims, and police chiefs are now not certain whether Noordin was ever at the farmhouse.

He is believed to have formed a violent offshoot from the al-Qaeda-linked militant network Jemaah Islamiah.

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



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SEE ALSO
Terror suspect 'killed in Java'
08 Aug 09 |  Asia-Pacific
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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