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Indonesia eyes militant networks after Noordin killing
ICC Note:
A look at the future of militant networks after the death of Noordin Top, Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist.
9/18/09 Indonesia (CSMonitor) As Indonesians take stock of the death of Noordin Top, Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, attention is switching to the militant network that he spawned in Indonesia.
Mr. Noordin was a charismatic, university-educated Malaysian who moved to Indonesia in 2002. There he built bombs, trained young recruits, and helped organize attacks on Western targets. These included the bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, an attack in 2004 on the Australian Embassy, and, most recently, suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on July 17.
Authorities said he died Thursday in an overnight police raid on a safe house in central Java, along with two accomplices. His death came one month after police killed a militant linked to the July 17 bombings who was mistakenly identified as Noordin. Police said this time they had matched his fingerprints.

Born in southern Malaysia, Noordin befriended exiled preachers from neighboring Indonesia and veterans of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, most opted to regroup in Indonesia. Noordin also fled there, fearing arrest.
Once there, he tapped into the familial and alumni network of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an extremist group that advocates an Islamic superstate across much of multifaith Southeast Asia. But Noordin broke away from his patrons when authorities began to turn up the heat on the organization after the 2002 Bali bombings.
In recent years, he led his own splinter cell that recruited young Indonesians willing to die for the cause, even as other radicals began to question the tactic of fighting the “far enemy,” as the US is known, in order to topple secular rulers at home.
“He clearly was a proponent of an Al Qaeda ideology, whereas many JI members were beginning to see such a strategy as being counterproductive,” says Zachary Abuza, an expert on JI at Simmons College in Boston.
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