- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 10, 2002

JAKARTA, Indonesia The prime suspect in the Bali blast said he had visited Afghanistan, Indonesian intelligence officials said yesterday, adding that he may have met with members of a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda while in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Brig. Gen. Edward Aritonang said a chemical-store owner detained Friday in connection with the Oct. 12 blast has been named a suspect accused of selling bomb-making materials from his shop.
Police spread out across Indonesia looking for as many as 10 other suspects and raided homes in the village of the first suspect, known only as Amrozi.
Amrozi admitted to owning the L300 Mitsubishi minivan that was filled with at least 110 pounds of explosives and blown up outside a packed nightclub on Bali, killing nearly 200 people.
Since his arrest, police said, Amrozi also has confessed to involvement in a string of terror attacks in Indonesia, including the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange in 2000 that killed 15 persons. He also acknowledged meeting the suspected leaders of an al Qaeda-linked terror network.
Maj. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika, the top investigator, did not say for whom Amrozi was working but said his younger brother, identified only as Mukhlas, was a member of Jemaah Islamiyah.
The search for suspects in the blast increasingly focused on Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror group whose purported intention is to form a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia.
Intelligence officials said Amrozi has said he has visited a number of Asian countries, including Afghanistan
But last week Gen. Pastika said he thought Indonesians trained in Afghanistan or Libya were behind the bombing, citing the planning and expertise that was required for the attack.
Gen. Aritonang said Friday that Amrozi said he knows two Muslim clerics: Riduan Isamudin, also known as Hambali, and Abu Bakar Bashir. They are said to be the leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah.
Police recently arrested Mr. Bashir, 64, suspected to be spiritual leader of the group, on suspicion of involvement in a string of church bombings three years ago. So far police have not identified him as a suspect in the Bali attack.
Amrozi's neighbors said he went to Malaysia in the late 1980s to work in construction and the tourism industry. Intelligence sources believe he met with Jemaah Islamiyah members while he was there.
Among those detained are the principal of Tenggulun's Al Islam school, where Amrozi was a frequent visitor, and the owner of a shop in Surabaya, East Java's capital, where Amrozi purportedly bought chemicals used in the Bali blasts, police said.
The shop owner, Silvestor Tendean, has been named a suspect by East Java police in the sale of explosives, some of which may have been used in the Bali blast, Gen. Aritonang said, but he said Mr. Tendean remained only a witness in the Bali blast.
Gen. Pastika said detectives believe that six to 10 people were involved in the Bali attack.

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