- Oct 23, 2008
View live feed of what's happening [url=http://www.pureofftopic.com/news-background-stories/273-live-feed-indonesia-fights-top-islamic-militant.html]here[/URL].JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian police have shot dead a man suspected to be leading Islamic militant Noordin Mohammad Top during raids in Central Java and were trying to identify his body, police sources said on Saturday.
A raid was still going on at a remote house in rice fields in Temanggung where three to four suspected militants were thought to be holed up.
After an overnight standoff and sporadic exchanges of gunfire, shots and explosions could be heard as TV footage showed heavily armed black-clad police from the anti-terrorism unit creeping toward the house, some sheltering behind shields.
Local TV network TVOne quoted an unnamed police source as saying that Top may still be in the house after being shot and wounded.
Separately, police said they had killed two suspected militants and found up to 500 kg of bombs during a raid on a house in the Bekasi area near the capital Jakarta.
Malaysian-born Top is a prime suspect thought to be behind the near simultaneous suicide attacks on two luxury Jakarta hotels.
The July 17 attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton killed nine and wounded 53, including Indonesians and foreigners, and broke a four-year lull.
Police have launched a series of raids since Friday and a police source close to the investigation into the hotel attacks told Reuters the man suspected to be Top was killed during a raid on a workshop in Temanggung, over 250 miles southeast of Jakarta.
"He was shot dead," the source said, adding that raids in the area had led police to the house in Bekasi, just east of the capital, where bombs had been found. A Reuters correspondent in Bekasi heard a loud blast from the cordoned-off area.
A source in Indonesia's anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88 also said police believed Top had been killed.
"I think this is very significant. Hopefully the person in Temanggung is Noordin," said national police spokesman Nanan Soekarna.
Two men had been shot dead in Bekasi after throwing a pipe bomb at police -- one a suspected bomb-maker and the other linked to a 2004 attack on the Australian embassy, said Soekarna.
He said two other suspects believed to be involved in recruiting suicide bombers were still on the run.
National Police Chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said police had captured three men in Central Java and three men in Jakarta during the raids.
He said the bombs appeared to have been prepared for use in a car bomb attack on "a very particular target," but did not elaborate.
Soekarna said police had identified the two suicide bombers who carried out the hotel attacks -- 19-year-old Danny Dwi Permana from Bogor in the Marriott attack and 28 year-old Nana Ihwa Maulana from Pandeglang in the Ritz-Carlton bombing.
On Friday, police had said two men who were believed to be Top's bodyguards had been arrested in a workshop in a market in Temanggung and had led police to a house in the same area where there had been a shoot-out with suspected militants.
Intelligence officials say Top and fellow Malaysian Azahari Husin, a bomb-maker who was killed in a 2005 police raid, were leaders in the Jemaah Islamiah militant network, blamed for a series of bomb attacks in Indonesia since 2002.
Top is believed to have planned previous bomb attacks on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and in Bali in 2005.
(Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia and Karima Anjani; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Nick Macfie)