An US FBI agent testifying in the trial of the suspected Bali bomb-maker yesterday said the accused planned to kill US troops and intelligence suggested he went to Pakistan to meet Osama bin Laden.
Indonesian prosecutors accuse Umar Patek, who was arrested last year in the same Pakistani town where US commandos later killed the al-Qaeda chief, of constructing the bombs that killed 202 people, mostly Westerners.
“He continued being a terrorist, he continued making bombs and was planning to attack US troops in the Philippines,” testified Frank Pellegrino, a special agent with the FBI.
Pellegrino interrogated Islamic militants after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the US and said he had discussions with Indonesian police following the Bali attacks about Patek’s activities in Afghanistan, where the suspected bomb-maker had trained.
In the Philippines, Patek spoke to many people “about his desire ... to kill Americans in the southern Philippines, and they would be American troops assisting Filipino troops,” Pellegrino told the West Jakarta District Court.
Pellegrino arrived in Bali shortly after the October 2002 nightclub bombings and was one of the FBI agents responsible for tracking self-confessed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, caught by Pakistani authorities in 2003.
Defense lawyers have said Patek was not in Pakistan to meet bin Laden.
However, Pellegrino said a witness in the Philippines had told the FBI the accused had gone there to re-establish the link between his Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and al-Qaeda.
The witness “indicated that Patek told him that he was interested in going back to Pakistan and Afghanistan and working with Osama bin Laden,” Pellegrino said.
“He said he wanted to reconnect with al-Qaeda and JI connection, made so strong by Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and Hambali,” an Indonesian terror suspect who is in US custody at Guantanamo Bay. This is what one witness told us,” Pellegrino said.