Asia terror chief believed killed in Indonesia
Updated: 2005-11-10 09:16
A man suspected of being Azahari Husin, one of Asia's top terror suspects,
blew himself up after being cornered by police but Indonesian authorities will
have to wait at least a day to identify the body, a lawmaker and police said.
Azahari, a Malaysian from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaaah Islamiyah (JI) militant
network and known as the "Demolition Man", was strongly suspected of being one
of three men who detonated explosives and killed themselves after a shootout
with police in the sleepy town of Batu, East Java province.
If confirmed, his death would be a major coup for Indonesian security
services against JI -- which was suspected in another deadly bombing on the
resort island of Bali last month.
National police chief General Sutanto told a press conference that he could
not immediately say whether one of the three was Azahari, who is suspected of
masterminding a string of deadly blasts in Indonesia and supplying bombs used in
the 2002 Bali bombings
"Information like that we can only ascertain tomorrow (Thursday)," he said
when reporters asked him to comment on reports of the death of Azahari.
"We will take every effort to identify the three, including through the use
of DNA and showing the bodies to witnesses who know Azahari."
However Djoko Susilo, a member of parliament who spoke with Sutanto at the
scene of the shootout, told AFP that based on the information he was given: "I
am 95 percent convinced that Azahari is already dead there.
"But scientifically we still need
to ascertain the death with a post mortem, or more precisely through DNA testing
because the bodies inside were in bits and pieces."
Indonesian police guard near the scene of
firefight in the town of Batu Malang in East Java November 9, 2005. One of
Southeast Asia's most wanted Islamic militants, Malaysian Azahari bin
Husin, was killed during a shoot-out with Indonesian police in East Java
province on Wednesday, the national police chief
When police chief Sutanto was asked how he knew Azahari might be among the
three, he told reporters: "From information obtained from one of the
perpetrators whom we have arrested in Semarang earlier today."
He identified that suspect by the initials CH.
A police source in Semarang, the capital of neighbouring Central Java
province, told AFP that three people were arrested about half an hour before the
3:30pm (0830 GMT) raid in Batu.