Indonesia rounds up 11 terror suspects

October 30, 2012
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JAKARTA, Indonesia – The anti-terror police unit Detachment 88 has staged a series of raids in four Java provinces, arresting 11 suspected terrorists over the past couple of days. All are believed to be connected to the Sunni Movement for Indonesian Society (Hasmi) group, local media reported.

The Friday night and Saturday (October 27th) raids netted live bombs, high-explosive materials, and bomb-making manuals, according to National Police spokesman Suhardi Alius.

"The targets of the group were allegedly American Embassy offices in Surabaya and Jakarta; Plaza 89, in front of the Australian Embassy and Freeport headquarters in Jakarta; and the Srondol Mobile Brigade headquarters in Semarang," he told reporters Saturday, according to The Jakarta Post.

The newspaper added that one of those arrested – Mustofa Bilal alias Abu Hanifah – has been linked to slain bomb-maker Noordin M. Top.

Terrorism expert Al Chaidar of Malikussaleh University in Aceh said that Hanifah may have been a former student of Noordin's, a mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing. He was shot dead by police in September 2009.

"There are reports that Hanifah learned to make bombs from Noordin in Banten and that he allegedly helped hide Noordin from the police in Surakarta," Al Chaidar told The Post.

According to The Straits Times, Al Chaidar described Abu Hanifah as "old wine in a new bottle," and said he was a senior member of the Solo-based Tim Hisbah, which galvanised young Muslims in the city into raiding nightclubs to combat gambling and prostitution. The cell also launched attacks against police.

He added that the new group, Hasmi, grew out of Tim Hisbah, which was behind suicide bombings in Cirebon and Solo, both on Java Island. Tim Hisbah Chief Sigit Qurdowi was killed in May 2011 during a gunfight with police.

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