Headlines

Noordin's identity: Children
undergo DNA testing

National Police have taken blood samples from Noordin M. Top's children in Malaysia for DNA testing to establish if he was the man shot dead in Temanggung, Central Java, as experts doubt the country's most wanted terrorist has really died.

Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Da'i Bachtiar said officers from Detachment 88, the police's special counterterrorism squad, had just returned to Jakarta with samples of Noordin's children's blood to match it with a sample taken from a man killed in Saturday's siege .

"However, it is still possible we may bring Noordin's family members, his wife and children to Jakarta to identify the body," Da'i, a former chief of police, said as quoted by Antara from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

"We could also make use of help from the Malaysian police, who have Noordin's fingerprints."

Intelligence analysts, however, expressed doubt that the man shot dead was Noordin, even before the DNA test results had come out.

"It is very unlikely for a man like Noordin to choose a hideout in that village. The village is surrounded by mountainous terrain, which make it difficult for him to escape," analyst Dynno Chreesbon told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said Saturday that police would wait until after the DNA test results to determine whether the man fatally shot in Beji village in Temanggung was Noordin or not.

He said police needed at least a week before they could release the DNA results to the public.

The two people killed during a simultaneous crackdown in Jati Asih in Bekasi, West Java on Saturday were identified as Air Setyawan and Eko Joko Sartono.

The three bodies are currently at the Polri Sukanto Hospital in East Jakarta under heavy guard, until test results are released.

Former chief of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Hendropriyono expressed his doubts that the dead man was Noordin.

"It was reported that there were at least four men in the house during the raid. However, only one body was found and the body was said to be Noordin," he said during a televised interview with Metro TV on Saturday.

"But it is hard to believe that a man like Noordin lives alone, with no bodyguards. As an intelligence analyst, I am willing to bet that the dead man is not Noordin," he added.

Noordin is an important figure in the Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) radical group. According to experts, his role in the organization is vital because he is responsible for recruiting members to become suicide bombers.

The group promotes the belief that its members are fighting a holy war as part of a jihad and the enemy is the United States and its Western counterparts along with Zionist Jews.

JI attacks have struck Indonesia on several occasions, including the first and second Bali bombings and the latest JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings.

Some question why the police did not fire teargas into the house in Temenggung to enable them to take the fugitive alive.

"He's not dead yet, in fact, the DNA tests prove the body that was recovered was not that of Noordin," Rohan Gunaratna, the head of the Singapore-based centre for violence and terrorism said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

"But it is very likely he will be hunted down in the next few days."

International Crisis Group director Sidney Jones said her institution needed more time to compile all the information related to the raid before assessing the possibility of whether the dead man was Nordin.

"I am not saying the dead man is definitely not Noordin, but there is a big chance that he is not," she said.

The police also killed two JI members, Air Setiawan and Eko Sarjono, during a raid in Jati Asih, Bekasi. According to police, Air and Eko planned to blow themselves up at the residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Cikeas, Bogor, located just five kilometers away. The police found half a ton of explosives at their residence.

Hendropriyono said if it was true the terrorist group had targeted the President then they had already adapted.

"Usually, global terrorist networks like JI will not attack the local government. But if they do, then they must see Yudhoyono as too dependant on the West or the US," he said. (hdt)

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