Indonesia police foil car bomb plot in anti-terror raid: chief | world | Hindustan Times
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Indonesia police foil car bomb plot in anti-terror raid: chief

world Updated: Aug 08, 2009 07:53 IST
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Two would-be suicide bombers who were weeks away from launching a car bomb attack were killed during a police raid near Jakarta early on Saturday, the Indonesian police chief said.

National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said the two men were shot dead as they were about to detonate hand-made bombs during the raid, which uncovered a cache of explosive material and a car rigged as a bomb.

He said the house in Bekasi, outside Jakarta, was being used as a base by a "cell of NMT," referring to alleged terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top who is wanted over multiple suicide bombings in Indonesia.

"We had to shoot them because at the time of the raid they had hand-held bombs that were about to be thrown at the police," he said, identifying the suspects as Air Setiawan and Eko Gepeng.

"They were would-be bridegrooms (suicide bombers) with special targets for attacks to be carried out two weeks from now.... This place was a cell of NMT."

Danuri said the raid was linked to an ongoing counter-terror operation in Central Java, where police had besieged a house believed to be a Noordin hideout since Friday afternoon and had exchanged heavy gunfire with the occupants.

Asked whether Noordin was inside the house in Beji village, the police chief only said "God willing."

The would-be bombers had been "accomplices" in the Australian embassy attack of 2004, when a massive suicide car bomb was detonated outside the embassy in central Jakarta, killing 10 people and wounding scores more.

Noordin is suspected of masterminding that attack as well as suicide blasts at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, Bali tourist restaurants in 2005 and the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on July 17.

Danuri said the two suicide bombers used in the July 17 attacks, which killed seven people including six foreigners, had been identified last week.

He gave their names as Nana and Dani, but provided no further details about their identities or possible connection to Noordin, a Malaysian Islamist who leads a splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network.

Three other men had also been arrested in relation to last month's hotel attacks, including one named Amir Abdillah who allegedly booked the Marriott hotel room used by the bombers in the days before the attacks.