Indonesia says it has nine suspects
in custody for this month's bombing of a Jakarta hotel - the latest terrorist
attack in Southeast Asia. The arrests come as U.S. officials interrogate the
alleged head of the Southeast Asia terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, who was
captured Monday in Thailand.
Amid extremely tight security for Indonesia's 58th Independence Day celebration,
the national police chief announced Sunday there are now nine suspects in custody
for the August 5 bombing the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta.
But authorities declined to identify the suspects or disclose any details
in the on-going investigation.
The massive explosion killed 12 people and injured 150 others. It was the
worst terrorist incident in Indonesia since the October bombing on Bali killed
202 mostly foreign tourists.
Officials believe both attacks are the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast
Asian Islamic militant group linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
The elusive alleged leader of JI, an Indonesian man known as Hambali, was
captured Monday in Thailand. He is being interrogated by U.S. officials at
an undisclosed location.
He is wanted in for a series of terrorist attacks and plots in Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.
Hambali is suspected to have been plotting an attack at the upcoming Asia
Pacific Cooperation Summit scheduled for October in Thailand.
Jakarta-based analyst Sidney Jones, with the independent International Crisis
Group, says Hambali's arrest is a significant achievement in the war on terror.
"Hambali's greatest asset was a combination of international contacts and
a real strategic sense of where to target, how to target and how to bring the
group together so that the attack came off," said Ms. Jones.
Despite his arrest, governments are warning that JI is still a major threat
to the region. Speaking in Australia, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage says it would be foolish not to assume that the APEC summit is still
at risk of a terrorist strike. He told Australia's Channel Nine News that the
region must still take every possible security precaution.