Raid foils bomb plot bigger than Bali: police


Tom Allard National Security Editor
April 4, 2007
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/raid-fo...5366240211.html

INDONESIAN and Australian authorities say they have prevented a terrorist attack larger than the Bali bombings and targeted at public officials after they uncovered a huge cache of explosives.

The seizures followed raids in Yogyakarta two weeks ago that resulted in one death and six arrests. Two more men were subsequently arrested, leading to more searches. The searches led to the seizure of 20 improvised explosive devices, 730 kilograms of explosive materials, 45 kilograms of TNT and nearly 200 detonators.

More than a thousand rounds of ammunition, electronic circuitry and a cache of weapons were also uncovered.

Indonesia's police chief, General Sutanto, said the material could have created a bomb far larger than the ones that ripped through Bali's nightclubs in 2002, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians.

It could also have set up a series of simultaneous terrorist bombings throughout Indonesia. Such co-ordinated attacks have been a feature of groups linked to al-Qaeda.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said the alleged cell was "planning to conduct a bombing campaign directed at a range of public officials".

The men arrested are alleged to have links to Abu Dujanah, the military commander of Jemaah Islamiah. One of the suspects is also believed to be connected to the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, the federal police said.

The Deputy Commissioner, John Lawler, said the arrests were the result of a joint operation between Indonesian and Australian officers.

"This is a significant milestone for [joint] efforts to contain and counter the threat posed by terrorists to the region," he said. The federal police had provided intelligence analysis and technical and forensic assistance, he said.

Australian and Indonesian co-operation since the Bali bombings has been a model for counter-terrorism agencies around the world. Many analysts have identified counter-terrorism efforts in Indonesia as an example of how to conduct such operations.

Not only have there been scores of arrests and no large attacks in Indonesia in almost two years, authorities have been successful in turning public sentiment against the Islamic militants. With a population of more than 200 million, even a tiny number of militants can prove a serious security risk, particularly if they choose soft targets, such as restaurants and bars.

General Sutanto said the suspects were being moved to Jakarta for further interrogation, but several important militant leaders were still at large
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