Publisher Declared Bomb Suspect

JAKARTA ~ A radical Indonesian publisher said to be a former member of Al Qaeda has been declared a suspect in July’s deadly luxury hotel bombings in the capital Jakarta, national police said.

Publisher and blogger Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, who went by the online moniker “Prince of Jihad,” was officially declared a suspect following his arrest a week ago, police spokesman Nanan Soekarna told reporters on Tuesday.

The move allows police to keep him in custody pending possible charges.

“He is alleged to have been involved in terrorism, specifically financing and other offences, including using a false identity. The details of his involvement will all be explained at an appropriate time,” Soekarna said.

Mohammed Jibril, 24, could face charges of conspiracy and aiding terrorism as well as immigration violations and falsifying documents, he said.

Police have said Mohammed Jibril channelled money from abroad to fund the two July 17 suicide bombings, which killed seven people and two bombers in Jakarta’s JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

Police have not said where the money has come from, but are investigating whether it came from Al Qaeda money men in the Middle East or South Asia.

The July 17 attacks, the first of their kind in Indonesia in nearly four years, are the suspected work of Malaysian terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top, 41, who leads a violent splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah network.

Noordin was allegedly behind a 2003 attack on the Marriott that killed 12 people, as well as the bombing of the Australian embassy in 2004 and restaurants in Bali in 2005.

National police chief Bambang Danuri told parliament on Monday that police had spotted Noordin in a safe-house in Central Java but had narrowly missed him by the time they burst inside in a dramatic, televised raid.

Noordin was initially reported dead at the end of the 17-hour siege but the body later turned out to be that of Ibrohim, a florist working in the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel complex who helped plot the attacks from the inside.

Danuri also told parliament police had documents proving Noordin’s group had planned another attack “bigger than the events in other places.”

Danuri did not elaborate, but appeared to link the plot to Mohammed Syarir, a fugitive Noordin acolyte who had worked as a technician for national airline Garuda Indonesia.

Police have refused to speak further on the chief’s comments, which could also be a reference to an alleged plot by a Noordin cell uncovered last month to use a truck bomb to attack the home of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Police say they have killed three members of Noordin’s group, “Al Qaeda in the Malaysia Archipelago,” and arrested five since July 17, including a Saudi national who allegedly helped bring in foreign money for the attacks.

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