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7/8/03 - BIN LADEN & JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH - 2003-07-09

Police in Indonesia have captured another fugitive charged with the October 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali that killed more than two-hundred people from more than a dozen countries. A police spokesman said the suspect, Idris, was among eleven members of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group arrested for a bank robbery in Sumatra. Idris reportedly served as deputy to Imam Samudra, who is now on trial for organizing the Bali bombings. Indonesian prosecutors say Idris took part in planning the attacks and provided money for bomb-making materials.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Indonesia's response is welcome:

"Indonesia finally awakened to the threat of terrorism within its own borders and has arrested many of the perpetrators of the terrible Bali bombing and brought to justice the leader of one of the terrorist organizations that claimed responsibility."

Idris is one of dozens of Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists and their supporters arrested by Indonesian authorities. With each arrest, more is learned about the extent of Jemaah Islamiyah's operations and its connection with al-Qaida.

Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana was Jemaah Islamiyah's treasurer until his December 2001 arrest in Singapore. Bafana testified in the trial in Indonesia of Jemaah Islamiyah leader Abu Bakar Bashir. Bashir is charged with treason and with taking part in the December 2000 bombing of Christian churches that killed nineteen people. Bafana told the court that bin Laden called for the church bombings and other terrorist attacks. Bafana said that he and Jemaah Islamiyah operations chief, Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, discussed the bin Laden proposal with Bashir. Bafana said that Bashir not only approved the church bombings, he called for the assassination of Indonesia's then-vice president, now president, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Al-Qaida's role in training and providing support to terrorist groups like Jemaah Islamiyah became clear after al-Qaida and its Taleban allies were driven from power in Afghanistan. Authorities in Indonesia are now confronting evidence of al-Qaida's deep complicity in terrorist attacks. Dealing with al-Qaida affiliates is not enough. Al Qaida will remain a worldwide threat until Osama bin Laden and his terrorist associates are brought to justice.