After questioning him for a week, police on Monday declared a Saudi Arabian man a suspect for the financing of the July bombings that ripped through the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.
The suspect, Ali Muhammad bin Abdullah alias Al Khalil "Ali", was arrested in Kuningan, West Java, on August 13.
With the announcement Monday, police also reaffirmed their belief that most of the funding for previous terror attacks came from the Middle East. The police also said they were hunting for several men of Middle Eastern origin who had allegedly played similar roles to Ali.
“We have arrested a Saudi Arabian citizen by the name of Al Khalil Ali and will question him [further] over the funding related to the recent bombings,” National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri told a press conference.
However, Bambang refused to elaborate further on the funding process or details of Ali’s role in the recent bombings.
“The answers to those questions will be given immediately along with a new most-wanted list,” he said.
Separately, Iwan Herdiansyah, an Indonesian national, was also recently arrested on similar charges.
Last week, however, Iwan was released because police could not find any proof of his involvement in any terrorist activity.
A source close to the police said Ali was an international courier who had channelled funding
from foreign donors mainly in Arab countries.
“In an early questioning session Ali admitted he was tasked to prepare [funds] for the arrival of a well-known radical Arab cleric. Since then police were keen to find out what else he knew,” Bambang said.
Besides questioning Ali, he said, police were pursuing several other people of Middle Eastern origin who had fled after learning of Ali's arrest.
Excluding Ali, police have named nine suspects to date in the investigations of the July bombings, five
of whom are now dead.
These include terror leader Noordin M. Top, Air Setiawan, Eko Joko Sarjono, Ibrohim, Dani Dwi Permana, Nana Ichwan Maulana, Aris Sutanto, Hendra Arif Hermawan and Amir Abdillah.
Some people arrested on suspicion had subsequently been released because police had not been able to find any proof of their involvement in terrorist activities.
These people were Yayan, who along with Umar Abdillah was arrested in North Jakarta, and Mohammad Djahri alias Mohjahri, whose house in Temanggung, Central Java, had served as a safe house for the late Ibrohim.
However, these people were still under police surveillance despite having been released, police spokesman Insp. Gen. Nanan Soekarna said.
Noordin’s wife Arina Rahma, her mother Astuti and two of Arina’s children were still under police protection, Nanan said.
Previously, police also confiscated around 500 kilograms of bomb materials and a car from a rented house in the Nusaphala housing complex in Bekasi.
According to police, the bombs were made specifically for use on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's private residence in Cikeas, West Java. The terrorists allegedly hold him responsible
for the execution of the "Bali bombers": Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron and Amrozi.