Suspect Nabbed In Jakarta Blast

A worker stands among wrecked cars at the site of the Marriott Hotel bombing, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
AP
Indonesian police have arrested a suspect in last week's attack on the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people and injured nearly 150, authorities said Friday.

"Police arrested a suspect in the bombing several days ago outside Jakarta," said Lt. Gen. Erwin Mappaseng, chief of detectives, who refused to identify the individual.

The announcement came as Thai authorities confirmed that a radical cleric Riduan Isamuddin, head of the al Qaeda linked terror group that is blamed for Aug. 5 Marriott blasts, was arrested outside of Bangkok and was being interrogated by U.S. investigators.

Gen. Da'i Bachtiar, Indonesia's national police chief, said Thursday that several individuals had been picked up for questioning in the Marriott bombing, but he refused to give details about the number detailed or where they were being questioned.

"We have detained several people and we are questioning them but there is insufficient evidence yet to prove their links with the Marriott bombing," Bachtiar said.

The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted unnamed sources at Jakarta police headquarters as saying nine people had been detained, including a Malaysian named Muklis.

The newspaper also reported that most of the men were captured in Bengkulu on Sumatra island, the home of one of the suspected bombers, whose severed head was found in the debris after the blast.

Authorities suspect that the Marriott attack was organized Jemaah Islamiyah, which is also blamed for last October blasts that killed 202 people in the resort island of Bali.

The United States and Australia have warned of more attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Bachtiar showed photos of the six men sought in both bombings, including Riduan Isamuddin, who is also known as Hambali and has been called Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist and Osama bin Laden's point man in the region.

President Bush described Hambali as a killer and said the CIA participated in the arrest.

"He is no longer a problem to those of us who love freedom," Bush said in San Diego. "And neither are nearly two-thirds of known senior al Qaeda leaders, operational managers and key facilitators who have been captured or have been killed."

In a related development, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Ralph Boyce donated on $500,000 in emergency assistance to the victims of the hotel bombing and their families.

"There are many people who continue to suffer from the effects of this tragic bombing," Boyce said. "It is indeed a sad day when ordinary Indonesians are targets for mass murder."