Bali bombing mastermind escaped deadly police siege

Tests show that dead man was not Noordin Mohammed Top, also wanted for last month's attacks on Jakarta hotels

A man killed in a 17-hour siege on Saturday was not Indonesia's most wanted militant, Noordin Mohammed Top, police said today.

Top, blamed for the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2005, which killed more than 200 people, was believed to be dead after counterterrorism officers stormed a mud-walled farmhouse in central Java.

But tests comparing the body's DNA with members of Noordin's family came back negative, said Eddy Saparwoko, the head of the national police victim identification unit.

The manhunt for Noordin intensified after he was named as the main suspect in last month's twin suicide hotel bombings in Jakarta, in which nine died and 53 were injured.

Saparwoko said the man who died in the shootout was a florist identified only as Ibrohim. He made floral arrangements at the Marriott hotel and Ritz-Carlton where the suicide bombers struck on 17 July.

Nanan Sukarna, the national police chief, identified Ibrohim as "a planner and arranger of the bombings" and said five other suspects in the blasts remained at large including Noordin.

Police showed CCTV footage where Ibrohim, who called himself Boim at work, appeared to be surveying parts of the lobby and restaurant in the hotel. He disappeared immediately after the attacks.

Ibrohim had been seen accompanying one of the suicide bombers at the hotel and had helped smuggle in bombs to room 1808 at the Marriott where they were assembled, police said. He had been a member of Jemaah Islamiyah since 2000, according to police.

Media reports quoting police sources said Top probably fled a few hours before the anti-terrorism unit raided the house. The Malaysian national, a former accountant and maths teacher, had become one of Asia's most wanted men. He is a former leader of Jemaah Islamiyah who recently formed his own splinter group allied with al-Qaida.

His campaign of violence in Indonesia began when he fled from Malaysia with Azahari Husin – killed in 2005 by the same elite unit involved in Saturday's shootout – after the 9/11 attacks to escape an expected crackdown on Islamic militants. The pair split from Jemaah Islamiyah following a disagreement over Noordin's insistence on increasingly hardline methods.

Contributor

Haroon Siddique and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Bali bombing 'mastermind' arrested
The alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings was arrested today, according to Indonesian police.

Staff and agencies

21, Nov, 2002 @1:02 PM

Briton feared dead in Bali bombing
A British national, Colin Zwolinski, the managing director of an Australian company, is thought to have been killed in the bomb attacks in Bali on Saturday.

Paul Lewis

05, Oct, 2005 @11:01 PM

Bali bomb 'mastermind' arrested
Indonesian police swoop at ferry terminal.

John Aglionby in Jakarta

22, Nov, 2002 @1:48 AM

Police release sketches of Bali bombing suspects
Indonesian and Australian police investigating last month's Bali bombings in which nearly 200 people died yesterday released sketches and descriptions of six more suspects, including the alleged mastermind, Abdul Aziz, 35, known as Imam Samudra. He is thought to have been trained in Afghanistan and been involved in church bombings across Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000.

John Aglionby in Jakarta

18, Nov, 2002 @1:22 AM

Article image
Bali bombing 'mastermind' goes on trial
The trial of Ali Ghufron, accused of overall responsibility for last year's Bali bombings, began amid high security today.

Agencies

16, Jun, 2003 @9:42 AM

Article image
Bali bombing accomplice released
Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the hardline Islamist cleric who gave his blessing to the October 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, walked free from a Jakarta prison and into the arms of hundreds of waiting supporters on Wednesday.

Simon Montlake in Bangkok

14, Jun, 2006 @11:49 AM

The secret mastermind behind the Bali horror
Bali joins a long list of vicious attacks by one of Osama bin Laden's most deadly disciples - and he will strike again. Jason Burke reports from Jakarta.

Jason Burke in Jakarta

20, Oct, 2002 @12:12 AM

Article image
Confusion over Bali terror warning from US embassy
Governor of Indonesian island denies issuing warning of New Year's Eve attack quoted on embassy website

Mark Tran

31, Dec, 2009 @12:01 PM

Bali bombing suspect 'killed in shootout with Indonesian police'
Officials claim Dulmatin, an explosives expert, was one of three suspects shot dead by anti-terror officers near Jakarta

Adam Gabbatt and agencies

09, Mar, 2010 @10:54 AM

Police make first arrest over Bali bombings
Indonesian police said yesterday they had made their first arrest in connection with the October 1 triple suicide bombing in cafes on the resort island of Bali which left 23 people dead.

John Aglionby in Jakarta

11, Oct, 2005 @11:01 PM