x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Death of suspected terrorist in doubt

Asian terror suspect Noordin Mohammed Top is probably still at large in Indonesia despite reports of his death, police say.

Asian terror suspect Noordin Mohammed Top is probably still at large in Indonesia despite reports of his death, police said today, even as the net closed around his extremist network. Fingerprint analysis confirmed that a man killed by police special forces in a raid on a suspected Noordin hideout on the weekend was not the Malaysian Islamist, a police source involved in the investigation told AFP.

"It's not him. We know from his facial structure as well as his fingerprints," the source said. "We're continuing to track his whereabouts." Mr Noordin's death has not been formally ruled out, however, and police are publicly sticking to the line that DNA tests are required. "Whoever the man is, it should be proved in a scientific way," national police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said. Photographs of the bullet- and shrapnel-riddled body dragged from the remote farmhouse in Central Java at the end of a 17-hour siege on Saturday morning do not resemble Noordin, police sources and independent experts said.

"The picture of the guy doesn't bear any resemblance," said Jakarta-based security analyst Sidney Jones, of the International Crisis Group. Noordin, 40, is wanted for multiple suicide bombings against "iconic" Western targets in Indonesia since 2003 which have killed about 50 people and injured hundreds. He is the self-proclaimed leader of "Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago", an offshoot of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group responsible for the 2002 Bali attacks which killed more than 200 people.

The twin suicide blasts at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on July 17, which killed nine people including six foreigners and the bombers, are believed to be his first major strike since 2005. * AFP