Ten Suspects Detained over Terror Bomb Plot

JAKARTA ~ Ten suspected militants arrested in Sumatra with a cache of bombs were part of a “terror network” linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Islamist group, police said on Thursday.

Police said one of the suspects was a bomb-making expert who was associated with Mas Selamat bin Kastari, the alleged leader of JI’s Singapore operations who escaped from prison there on February 27.

The alleged ringleader of the group had received military training in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Police did not name the suspects or reveal details of their alleged plot except to say they were planning to bomb targets in Indonesia.

They had also been involved in the attempted murder of a Christian priest in West Java in 2005, police said.

“In Palembang (South Sumatra) we have arrested members of a terrorist network who were detained by Special Detachment 88,” police spokesman Abu Bakar Nataprawira told reporters, referring to a crack anti-terror police squad.

He said one of the suspects identified only by his initials, MH, is “in the group of Mas Selamat bin Kastari.”

“The suspect gave training in assembling bombs to people in Palembang related to terrorist acts in Indonesia,” he said, adding that he was arrested on Saturday.

His arrest led to the detention of nine other suspects at a house in the South Sumatra provincial capital of Palembang on Tuesday, where police discovered the bombs cache.

Seven powerful “tupperware bombs” and 20 smaller pipe bombs were found in the attic of the rented house, along with bomb-making chemicals and weapons.

The Singaporean government accuses Kastari of plotting to hijack a plane in order to crash it into Singapore’s Changi Airport in 2001. He was never charged, but was being held under a law that allows for detention without trial.

Authorities blame JI for a string of regional attacks including the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed 202 people.

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