Sun, Oct 09, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Indonesian police arrest five over mosque bombing


Indonesia’s counterterrorism police yesterday arrested five people in connection with a suicide bombing of a mosque in April, a spokesman said.

Heru Komarudin, a 31-year-old man, was arrested by Detatchment 88, an elite counterterrorism police unit, at a market in central Jakarta in the early hours of the morning, national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said.

“We saw on his mobile phone he had been calling this one number a lot. We traced that number to a house in Bekasi [near Jakarta] and arrested two men and their wives,” Alam said without identifying the four. “All five arrested today are being questioned by police.”

Komarudin was one of five suspects linked to the bombing in Cirebon, more than 200km east of Jakarta, which wounded dozens, six of them seriously.

On April 15, Mohammed Syarif, 32, detonated explosives strapped to his body at a mosque within a police station during a Friday prayer service.

The dozens wounded in the explosion — who were mostly policemen, including the Cirebon police chief — were found with nails, nuts and bolts lodged in their bodies.

Another suspect on the same wanted list, Achmad Yosepa Hayat, executed an almost identical attack on a packed church in Solo, a city in central Java, on Sept. 25, injuring dozens of people with a similar explosive.

The Cirebon attack was the first suicide bombing inside a mosque in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation of 240 million people.

Beni Asri, another listed suspect, was arrested on Monday, leaving two suspects at large.

The attack highlighted a shift from larger organized terror networks, which have been weakened by Detatchment 88’s long bloody crackdown, to smaller connected terror cells that execute lower-impact attacks.

The attack also exposed Cirebon as a new hotbed for terrorism.

Indonesia has struggled to deal with the threat of homegrown Islamist militants who oppose the country’s secular, democratic system and want to create a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.

A series of bombings in the past decade have been blamed on regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

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