Skip to comments.Jemaah Islamiah front line moved to Bangladesh
Posted on 09/27/2003 9:26:11 AM PDT by knighthawk
Hambali and other senior members of Jemaah Islamiah have responded to the terror crackdown in Southeast Asia by moving the organisation west to south Asia, identifying Bangladesh as a refuge and setting up a sleeper cell of future leaders in Pakistan.
A senior Asian intelligence officer with access to key interrogation records of Hambali's interviews conducted after his arrest in Thailand last month told The Weekend Australian the JI leader was about to relocate to Bangladesh when he was caught in the city of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok.
The officer said he believed one of JI's most wanted men, Malaysian accountant Zulkifli Marzuki, could already be in hiding in Bangladesh.
The Weekend Australian has also learned that Hambali's terrorism plans for Bangkok initially included planting a bomb at the city's airport.
But when his Malaysian accomplice, Mohamad Nazir bin Lep, who has previously only been identified as Lilly, caught a bus to Ayutthaya, he noticed that planes taking off from the airport flew low over an elevated highway.
The pair decided to attack a plane with a shoulder-fired missile, the intelligence official said, but added that Hambali had not named the targeted airline.
He confirmed US officials were interrogating Hambali, Lep and another Malaysian, Mohamad bin Farik Amin, also known as Zubair, in Bagram, Afghanistan.
The officials were providing country-specific information from their interrogations to their regional allies, intelligence officials in Asia indicated.
One official said the information supplied concerned only their particular country, and "was not really useful" because the material was already known.
The Weekend Australian has also learned that Zubair intended to become a suicide bomber, and that he and Hambali travelled to Cambodia, where they lived for six months, in order to recruit students as suicide bombers.
"He thought that Cambodians have gone through so much (horror) that they were sad in the head," the official said, referring to the country's Khmer Rouge genocide years.
The news came as an Indonesian consulate official in Karachi said Hambali's brother, Rusman Gunawan, who was arrested there this month as part of a sweep of Indonesian and Malaysian students, had transferred $US50,000 ($73,820) from Pakistan to Hambali in Indonesia on orders from a Saudi Arabian man in Thailand.
Consular official Temu Alam said Gunawan, 27, had told him during a consular visit: "Someone named Toha from Saudi Arabia met me many times when I was in Thailand. He asked me to send money to Indonesia from Pakistan."
Malaysia's deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung said the 13 Malaysians and six Indonesians arrested were being groomed as future leaders of JI. JI previously has been considered an exclusively Southeast Asian organisation.
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