Police 'identify' Jakarta bomber

Officials refuse to confirm that police chief received warning about imminent attack.

    Noordin Top, a Malaysian, is wanted in connection with several bomb attacks in Indonesia



    "One of them [suicide bomber] has been identified. I cannot tell you his complete name, but he has the initial 'N'," Sukarna said.

    His comments follow reports that Indonesia's police chief had been warned two months ago about an imminent attack in the country.

    Security analysts and former Indonesian officials have linked the attacks to Noordin Mohammed Top, a fugitive Malaysian master bomb-maker.

    He was a key member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an al-Qaeda-linked group that wants to establish an Islamic state across Southeast Asia. But his group broke away from JI after an alleged falling-out with the leadership over the targeting of civilians.

    JI is blamed, among other attacks, for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing that killed 202 people.

    Name circulating

    Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said: "There is a name circulating in the local media [and] also mentioned by terrorist experts. The name is Nur Hasbi, and he is possiby one of the suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the Marriott hotel.

    "He checked into room 180A and was caught on CCTV camera just before the bomb went off."

    Sidney Jones, a terrorism expert in Southeast Asia, said she was not sure Hasbi was one of the suicide bombers as "there has been no confirmation from the police".

    In depth

     Video: Witness to Jakarta bombing
     Video: Jakarta blast caught on tape
     Indonesia's war on Jemaah Islamiyah
     Survivors describe blast panic
     President vows to catch bombers
     Timeline: Indonesia bombings

    "But his name was mentioned by a Muslim leader who was visited by the police yesterday morning and he seems very confident of the information, " she told Al Jazeera.

    Jones said Hasbi was associated with Noordin from late 2005 onwards and "has, in fact, been sought by police since 2006".

    "If Nur Hasbi does prove to be involved, that would be the clincher that Noordin Mohammed was involved in this operation," she said.

    Earlier, Surya Dharma, a former head of Indonesia's anti-terror intelligence force, told Al Jazeera that the attacks "were 100 per cent handled and controlled by Noordin Mohammed Top".

    Dharma tracked Noordin for six years until his intelligence unit was dismantled by the Indonesian government.

    Ansyaad Mbai, the chief of Indonesia's security ministry's anti-terror desk, also blamed Noordin.

    "There are strong indications that Noordin's group is behind the attacks because the bombs were hand-made and the tactic was suicide bombings," he said.

    'Very clear goal'

    As the needle of suspicion pointed towards JI, Jibril, a long-time member of the group, insisted that it was not involved in the latest attacks.

    "JI is an organisation with a very clear goal - we don't fight against an enemy who is not targeting Muslims," he told Al Jazeera.

    "Indonesia is not a country attacking Muslims, so we don't commit attacks here."

    At least 53 people, many of them foreigners,
    were wounded in the attack [AFP]
    But Mbai said the methods used for the Marriot and Ritz-Carlton attacks were similar to those employed by Noordin in the past.

    Noordin is thought to have been behind the attacks on the Jakarta Marriott in 2003 and the Australian embassy in 2004, as also on a series of restaurants in Bali in 2005 in which more than 20 people were killed.

    Significantly, the equipment found in a raid last week on an Islamic boarding school in Central Java, carried out as part of the hunt for Noordin, has been described by police to be the same as those used in Friday's attacks.

    The bombs are thought to have been brought fully assembled into the hotels, despite airport-style security measures and were packed with nails, ball-bearings, nuts and bolts to maximise the devastation.

    Security video from the hotel shows a man with a suitcase and backpack entering the hotel restaurant shortly before an explosion.

    Police have not confirmed whether the man is a suspect.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.