- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Jan. 15 (UPI) — Indonesian police arrested a Muslim cleric in connection with the deadly Oct. 12 bombing in Bali, and they also seized a large cache of weapons and explosives from his home in East Java, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The arrest on Tuesday of Ashari Dipokusumo came after police had interrogated Ali Imron, another key suspect in the bombing, who was arrested on Monday on a small island off East Kalimantan province. Along with Imron, police arrested another suspect.

Besides seizing 12 weapons, along with bullets and explosives, police also found a book about the Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant Islamic group that is believed to have ties to the al Qaeda network, Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis said.

Investigators have said Imron — the younger brother of Amrozi, the owner of a vehicle used to carry the explosives used in the Bali attack — has confessed to driving the vehicle used in the blasts.

Police also seized 330 pounds of potassium chlorate, a strong oxidizing agent that can be used to manufacture bombs, and a small pipe bomb, from the house of Dipokusumo.

He is a cleric at the Al-Ichlas Muslim boarding school in East Java's Lamongan district, Lubis said. He added that Dipokusumo was arrested on suspicion of helping Imron to hide.

Police have so far arrested 17 people — including key suspects Amrozi, his eldest brother Ali Gufron (alias Muhklas) and Imam Samudra — over the Bali bombing. More 190 people died in that incident and hundreds more were injured.

At least nine other suspects, including two Malaysians, remain at large, but investigators expressed confidence they could be captured in the near future.

Among the nine is an individual identified as Ridwan Isamuddin (alias Hambali), who is believed to be the senior leader of the JI. That Islamic group has been blamed by foreign governments and some Indonesian officials for the bombing on Bali.

Indonesian police also detained JI's alleged spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Baasyir, accused of being involved in other incidents and plots. But the police haven't yet linked Baasyir with the Bali blasts.


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