Seven militants were killed during a fierce gunbattle with Indonesian police in East Java Province yesterday and local media said they might include one of Southeast Asia's most wanted Islamic radicals.
Metro TV and other stations said Malaysian Azahari bin Husin had been killed in the shoot-out at a villa in the town of Batu. SCTV station said Azahari might have blown himself up.
Officials said they could not confirm the reports, although the president's spokesman said Azahari was believed to have used the villa as a hideout. National police spokesman Aryanto Budihardjo said the militants shot at anti-terrorism police and hurled 11 explosive devices at them after they surrounded the villa. Other officials said the militants threw grenades.
Budihardjo said police had yet to search the entire villa because it was booby-trapped with bombs.
One policeman had been wounded by gunfire, he said.
Batu police chief Sudijono said from the scene he had seen the bodies of seven militants he described as "terrorists," although they had not been identified.
Dino Patti Djalal, a spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said it was not clear if Azahari had been killed.
Indonesian police say Azahari designed and supervised the making of the car bomb that caused the most damage in the 2002 bomb attacks on Bali island that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Meanwhile, in Maluku Province, anti-terror police discovered a recently abandoned jungle training camp, where militants taught bomb-making skills to extremists, security officials said yesterday.
Instructors at the camp were graduates of terrorist academies in Afghanistan and the Philippines, police Lieutenant Colonel Leonidas Braksan said.
The isolated camp deep in the jungle had been running for several years and was attended by militants from all over Indonesia, he said, showing how terrorists have been able to maintain training networks despite a nationwide crackdown.
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