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Alleged Bali Bombing Mastermind 'Happy' About Recent Bombing
Patricia Nunan
VOA, Jakarta
06 Aug 2003, 14:01 UTC

The alleged mastermind of the Bali terror attack said he is happy about Tuesday's bombing at a luxury hotel in central Jakarta, which killed at least 10 people and injured dozens more. Imam Samudra is one of four suspects on trial for last October's bombing on Bali. Bali bombing suspect Imam Samudra praised God for the bombing at the J.W. Marriott hotel in central Jakarta. He said he was happy, and would be even more so if the bombers were Muslim.

Mr. Samudra spoke to reporters as he was led from a court in Bali's provincial capital, Denpasar, where he was testifying at a trial of another suspect in the Bali case.

Police describe Mr. Samudra as the brains behind the October bombing in Bali, which killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists. Mr. Samudra is suspected of being a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terror ring linked to the al-Qaida network.

Indonesia's top security minister said Wednesday the government is implementing a three-step plan to prevent more attacks like Tuesday's bombing in Jakarta.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the plan includes assessing the capabilities of Indonesia's security forces. "We will test intelligence agencies, police, [the] immigration section to be able to detect whether there are terrorist cells that are operating here in Indonesia," he said.

Authorities have not said who was responsible for the Marriott attack. But suspicion has fallen on Jemaah Islamiyah, in part because suspected members such as Mr. Samudra have repeatedly pledged to kill Westerners. In addition, police said similar materials and other methods were used in both attacks.

The timing of the hotel blast is also significant. It occurred two days before the first verdict is to be handed down in the trial of a Bali bombing suspect. Amrozi bin Nurhaysim, who supplied the car and the chemicals used in the blast, could receive a death sentence when the verdict is issued on Thursday.

Like Mr. Samudra, Mr. Amrozi is also outspoken. Last week, he sang a song he composed to gathered journalists, calling for a holy war against Christians and Jews.

Police say they have prepared a sketch of a possible suspect in the hotel blast. They say the former owner of the car used in the attack gave them a description of a person who bought the car from him.