australian embassy bomber

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    Police Detain Man Who May Be Australian Embassy Bomber

    September 23, 2004 1:57 a.m.

    JAKARTA (AP)--Police announced Thursday that they have detained a man who may be one of the masterminds of the suicide bombing at the Australian Embassy that killed nine people and injured nearly 180.

    Police chief Gen. Dai Bachtiar told reporters that authorities Wednesday stopped a man who fits the description of Noordin Mohamed Top, one of two Malaysian fugitives believed to have orchestrated the Sept. 9 attack. The man was detained at an airport.

    Bachtiar didn't give further details, but said police were investigating the man and can hold him for seven days under the country's anti-terror law.

    Noordin and fellow Malaysian militant Azahari bin Husin are allegedly top leaders in the al-Qaida-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been blamed for a string of terror attacks, including the Oct. 12, 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and the Aug. 5, 2003 bombing of the Jakarta Marriott hotel, which killed 12.

    They have eluded a police dragnet for more than year. In recent months, police have twice said they had men in custody who looked like the two, only to later admit they weren't the suspects.

    But helped by dozens of arrests in the past two weeks, authorities say they are closing in on the pair who are believed to be on the run somewhere on Indonesia's main island of Java.

    So far, police have arrested four people linked directly to the blast, including a man identified as A.A.H. Police say the suspect has confessed to transporting explosives used in the embassy blast.

    The other three were detained before the attack happened, and authorities have since determined that they had previous contact with Azahari and Noordin.

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