Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Noordin Mohammed Top, the most wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia is believed to have been killed in the course of a shout with Indonesian anti-terrorism forces. Noordin, of Malaysian origin and considered "enemy number one", id rumoured to be among those killed during a police raid on Temanggung, about 80 km from Semarang, capital of Central Java. Noordin is held to have been behind diverse attacks in recent years: the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, the Australian embassy in 2004, and in restaurants in Bali in 2005, as well as the attacks on two hotels in the capital last July 17.
The house where Noordin was in hiding is owned by a local resident, a certain Mohzari, a teacher in an Islamic school. Police also found and confiscated explosives in the house.
The gun battle began yesterday afternoon, after the arrest of two suspected terrorists in Temanggung market. Even now there is sporadic crossfire. The police has not yet issued any official communication confirming the death of the number one terrorist.
Another anti-terrorist operation is under way in Jatiasih of Bekasi, about 25 km east of Jakarta east, where the police killed two suspected terrorists. The victims were identified: Air Setiawan and Eko Peyang, both former prisoners and members of the "Taliban Islamic terrorists" responsible for the attack at the Marriott in 2003 and the Australian embassy in 2004. At the scene of the crime, police arrested two more suspects and confiscated weapons and explosives.
The police also confiscated a car full of bombs and three belts for a suicide attack. The bombs consist of 5 blocks containing between 100 and 500 kilos of explosives, and were hidden in a private home rented by Ahmad Fery, who was arrested before dawn this morning while driving the car from Solo (Central Java) to Jatisih.
The police believe that an attack on the private residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which is located in east Jakarta, was being planned. Solo is the home city of the Islamic school of Abu Bakar Baasyir, who is believed to have spiritual inspired Jemaah Islamiya.
From the interrogation of those arrested, the police came to know that terrorists were preparing an attack on the foreign diplomatic corps, during the celebration of Indonesian Independence Day, on 17 August.
The Indonesian police chief, Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, today also confirmed the identity of the suicide bombers in the attacks on the Marriott hotel and the Ritz Carlton last July. They are two young men, Nana Ichwan Maulana (who blew himself up in the Ritz Carton) and Dani Dwi Permani (who detonated his explosives vest in the Marriott). The latter lived in Telaga Kahuripan of Parung (near Bogor, West Java), but had left his home over two years ago.