2 Suspected militants shot dead in Indonesian raid
INDONESIA - 9 OCTOBER 2009
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian police raided a house near the capital Friday, shooting dead two suspected al-Qaida-linked militants wanted in the suicide bombings of luxury hotels in Jakarta, officials said.
The suspects threw pipe-bombs at arresting officers, but no one was harmed in the blasts. A third alleged Islamist militant detained earlier Friday led police to the hide-out at a student boarding house on the outskirts of Jakarta, said national police spokesman Nanan Sukarna.
One of the dead men, Syaiffudin Zuhri, is believed to have recruited two young bombers for July 17 strikes on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. He is also said to have been a leading member of a terrorist cell run by the late Malaysian terror mastermind Noordin Top.
Experts said the killings were a blow to terror groups operating in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, but that capturing them alive may have helped round up other terrorists.
Police raided the house in Tangerang district about 12 miles (20 kilometers) southwest of Jakarta, and fought a gunbattle with those inside that lasted for about an hour. Several pipe-bombs were seized.
Zuhri and his brother, Mohamad Syahrir, were killed by police gunfire, Sukarna said.
The July 17 explosions killed seven people and wounded more than 50, ending a four-year pause in terrorist attacks in Indonesia.
Documents in a laptop computer found with Noordin's body after a raid in central Java last month said Zuhri joined an al-Qaida affiliated group called Salafi Jihadi during studies in Yemen. Since 2005 he held a prominent position in Noordin's group, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad, which called itself the al-Qaida of Indonesia. Police believe Zuhri sought funding overseas for terrorist attacks in Indonesia.
Jim Della-Giacoma, Southeast Asia director of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group think tank, said the raid was a blow to Indonesian militants, though Zuhri's killing could also be a missed opportunity to gain intelligence.
"Noordin's network has been decapitated, or really effectively reduced," Della-Giacoma told the AP. "The problem is we don't know how big the network was or if there were future plans or other cells. When suspects are killed, you lose the opportunity to connect the dots and follow those."
"It's a shame they couldn't get these guys alive," he said.
Indonesia Police unload one of two body bags containing a militant from an ambulance at police's hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 9, 2009. Anti-terrorism police raided a house near the Indonesian capital on Friday, shooting dead two suspects and capturing two others, a police official and media reports said.
Source: Associated Press