Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Jemaah Islamiah

"Ticking timebombs" being sought in Indonesia:

Police say they are hunting for as many as six Indonesian militants poised to become suicide bombers — a calling once alien to this predominantly Muslim country but one that now poses an increasingly common threat.

The Jemaah Islamiah network, which police say is responsible for three terrorist attacks on Western targets in less than two years, continues to expand and attract new members in Indonesia despite a police crackdown and the arrest of many of its leaders, police and terrorism experts say.

New leaders are being trained to replace those who have been captured, and the group — which can operate legally in Indonesia to raise funds and provide religious education — presents a constant danger, they say.

The ability of Jemaah Islamiah militants to evade police was apparently demonstrated with this month's truck bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The blast outside the embassy gate, attributed to the group, killed at least 10 people, including at least one suicide bomber. Experts are analyzing unidentified body parts in an attempt to determine how many attackers were involved.

The bomb, placed in a small truck, was so powerful that the largest piece of the vehicle recovered was a hubcap. A human torso was thrown across eight lanes of traffic into a construction site, and additional remains were found a week later on the fifth floor of a heavily damaged office building next to the embassy.

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