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Suspected Bali Bomb Organizer Arrested

June 30, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Police said Monday they have arrested a top organizer of last year’s Bali bombings as he was preparing more terrorist attacks with other al-Qaida-linked militants.

The suspect, Idris, topped the list of Indonesia’s most-wanted suspects in the Oct. 12 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

``He has confessed to his entire role in the bombing,″ Bali police chief Maj. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika told The Associated Press. ``This is a very important arrest.″

The arrest appeared to be a major victory for Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, in its fight against Islamic militancy. The United States renewed its travel warning for the country on Friday, saying terrorists may be planning new attacks on U.S. targets.

Pastika said Idris, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, was part of a gang that robbed a bank in Medan city, Sumatra island last month. The money was to be used to fund an unspecified terror operation, he said.

Idris has been flown to Bali for questioning, top detective Lt. Gen. Erwin Mapasseng said.

Idris and 10 other alleged members of the gang, who have all been accused of being members of the regional Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, were arrested June 12 in Medan, Mapasseng said.

Prosecutors have accused Idris of being the deputy of Imam Samudra, the alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings. Samudra is on trial in Bali for the attack.

Idris _ who uses the aliases Joni Hendrawan and Gembrot _ allegedly attended many of the key meetings when the bombings were plotted.

Prosecutors say Idris is a member of al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been accused of carrying out the Bali attack.

Idris, 35, allegedly arranged financing for the attack and accommodation in Bali for the bombers.

He is believed to have studied in an Islamic school in Malaysia that was headed by Ali Ghufron _ one of three suspected Jemaah Islamiyah members on trial for the Bali attack.

Pastika said three other Bali bombing suspects remain on the run, including Dulmatin, who allegedly built the bombs used in Bali.

Jemaah Islamiyah allegedly aims to set up a regional fundamentalist Islamic state by using terror attacks to topple Southeast Asian governments.

Prosecutors in one of the Bali bombing trials for the first time on Monday linked the attack to Jemaah Islamiyah.

Until now, prosecutors have avoided implicating the group, despite it having been accused of involvement by Indonesia’s government and other countries.

Update hourly