Xmas bombing plots, chilling video found in terrorists' hideouts

Updated On: Nov 22, 2005

Jakarta – A videotape with a warning on more terror attacks in Western countries, especially Australia. A plot by Jemaah Islamiah (JI) leaders to unleash dozens of bombings over the Christmas holidays in Indonesia. These are among the discoveries made by Indonesian police following their success in tracking down the whereabouts of JI member and Malaysian bomb-expert, Azahari Husin, and his accomplice, Noordin Mohamed Top, in the island of Java.  

      In Azahari's hideout in Batu, a mountainous resort town in East Java, police found documents listing the places where the JI terrorists planned to bomb during the festive season. They included several sites in Batu itself, neighbouring Malang and smaller towns across East Java, such as Ponorogo, Tulungaggung and Trenggalek.
      Batu and Malang are home to many Catholic religious orders, as well as seminaries, monasteries and Bible schools, with Christians making up 5 per cent of the population. 
      The planned wave of bombings – which was thwarted after Azahari was killed in a gunbattle with police on Nov 9 – marked a change of tactic towards smaller scale attacks aimed at provoking sectarian strife. The last four major bombings since Bali in 2002 were in places frequented by Westerners. 
     "This time they wanted to provoke the Muslim-Christian conflicts, like in Ambon and Poso," said intelligence expert Wawan Purwanto, referring to the two eastern Indonesian regions wracked by sectarian strife.   
      Although Azahari is dead, Indonesian officials have warned that the danger of attacks remain high, as Noordin and other JI leaders remain on the loose. 
      Police believe that Noordin is the hooded man featured on a 15-minute videotape, in which he warned Western countries, especially Australia, of more attacks. The video was found with several other recordings in a hideout in SemarangCentral Java, which was used by Noordin, who managed to flee before officers arrived. 
      In the tape, the masked and armed man said: "We repeat that our enemies are AmericaAustraliaEnglandItaly. And we also convey that our enemies are helpers and assistants of Bush, Blair and infidel rulers - the apostate rulers - who control Muslim people and hunt clerics and mujahideen.
     "They are our enemies who have become the targets of our attacks. And we specifically remind Australia that you - Downer, John Howard - have led Australiainto darkness, into disaster and terrorism by mujahideen."  
      "As long as you continue to colonise the land of Iraq and Afghanistan and intimidate Muslims, then you too will feel our intimidation and terror."
      Indonesian police said it was the first time militant threats had been made on a tape found in a country with the world's  largest Muslim population – although the practice is common among radicals in the Middle East.
      In Adelaide, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said: "Noordin Top is the most wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia and no democratic country like Australiashould be intimidated by a fanatic like Noordin Top."

* JI plot for bloody Christmas uncovered (The Straits Times, Nov 21)

* JI fugitive Noordin may be behind chilling warning (The Straits Times, Nov 18)

* JI video warns Australia of terror attacks (Bernama, Nov 17)