Bombers Linked to Al Qaeda, Wanted to Get Americansgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Fri Nov 8, 4:34 AM ET
By Dean Yates
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia said Friday that Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network was behind the Bali bombings and that the attackers wanted to kill as many Americans as possible.
Defense Minister Matori Abdul Djalil told reporters a detained man who had confessed to participating in the bombings was part of Jemaah Islamiah, a radical Southeast Asian Islamic network that has been linked to al Qaeda.
Asked by reporters in the Indonesian capital Jakarta whether the Oct. 12 attacks were the work of al Qaeda, Djalil said:
"Yes, I am convinced. This is not because of that confession but I see a number of things which have been conveyed by the police that they have found with Amrozi."
Amrozi, the Indonesian owner of a minivan used as a devastating car-bomb, has confessed to being part of the group that carried out the attacks, which killed more than 180 people.
His arrest marked the first big breakthrough in the probe into the bombings on Bali, the most devastating in the world since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
Djalil did not say what police had found from Amrozi.
Made Mangku Pastika, the chief investigator of the multinational police team probing the blasts, told reporters in the Philippines capital Manila earlier in the day that Amrozi wanted to kill as many Americans as possible.
"According to the suspect himself, it was for revenge because of what Americans have done to Muslims," he said on the sidelines of a conference on the impact of terrorism on regional tourism.
Pastika said up to 10 people were involved in the attacks, adding police knew their names and were searching for them across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.
"They said they want to kill as many Americans so they tried to find where the Americans were gathering. That is in Bali," he said, adding that the bombers got the "wrong targets" because many Australians travel to the island resort.
Three bombs devastated a nightclub which is popular with young Westerners and at least half of the dead were Australian.
No one has claimed responsibility for the Bali blasts, but Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told CNN International al Qaeda boasted on Web sites about that and attacks in Kuwait and Tunisia. "I've seen translations of articles that just openly boast," he said.
In Indonesia, as elsewhere in the Islamic world, many ordinary Muslims and leaders regard the U.S. war on terror as a campaign against Islam itself.
Prior to the attacks, Indonesia had been criticized by officials in some countries for not doing enough to crack down on terror. In the aftermath of the blasts, President Megawati Sukarnoputri has said little about how she intends to respond to the challenges, especially those posed by Islamic militancy.
Jemaah Islamiah is thought to be seeking a pan-Islamic "super state" across Southeast Asia. The United States and some other countries have labeled it a terrorist organization.
Deputy National Police spokesman Edward Aritonang told a news conference in Bali that Indonesia would apply its new anti-terrorism regulations for the first time on Amrozi.
The measures were signed by Megawati in the days following the blasts and increase police power to pursue those suspected of terrorism and carry the maximum penalty of death.
Pastika also said he had been told investigators had found the place where the explosives used were made. "They found the residues of the material of the bomb in the house," he said.
Amrozi is the first suspect named over the Bali blasts.
Police have released four sketches of suspects and say Amrozi resembles one and that the three others are also Indonesians.
Pastika said the van used in the blast was bought in Java, Indonesia's most populous island and which is adjacent to Bali.
"Buying this, they used Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollars," Pastika added.
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002