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Australia's Jakarta embassy 'always' a jihadist target

From The Australian

AUSTRALIA'S Jakarta embassy, bombed in 2004, remains a jihadist target, Indonesia anti-terrorism coordinator Ansyaad Mbai said today.  “It's always that way,” Mr Mbai said, responding to an ABC report that a group allegedly associated with the arrested Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir had planned to attack the embassy.

The 71-year-old Bashir was arrested yesterday morning, after five members of his Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid were captured at the weekend in three West Java locations.The weekend raids allegedly uncovered a bomb laboratory, a vehicle being prepared as a car bomb, plans to attack police headquarters buildings in Jakarta and Bandung and a list of foreign embassies and tourist hotels.

However, International Crisis Group's Sidney Jones, a leading authority on Islamic terrorism in Southeast Asian, said it was unlikely any specific operation had been well-developed by the West Java group. Noting the evidence for one target, the police Mobile Brigade's Bandung building, was a drawing in a notebook, Dr Jones said: “I don't think we should conclude that plans were very far advanced, it may not have been more than discussions.”

Mr Mbai said it was clear from the West Java arrests terrorist cells were once again developing bombing capabilities.

Bashir, who can be held in custody for seven days before charges are required to be laid, was under questioning again today at the national police's criminal investigation office in Jakarta. According to Indonesian media reports, he denies all allegations but refuses to cooperate, saying: “It is haram (forbidden in Islam) to answer questions from the Western and Israeli puppets.”

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