DNA tests have confirmed that Southeast Asia terrorist leader Noordin Top was killed in a shootout with Indonesian security forces, along with 3 other militants, police said Saturday.
Police initially identified 41-year-old Noordin's body by taking fingerprints after the gun battle Thursday at a hide-out in central Java. National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said that there were 14 points of match between the fingerprints. Only 11 are required for a confirmation.
'This fingerprint data, we can say, is 100 per cent reliable,' he said.
DNA tests have confirmed those findings, National Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said.
Authorities had earlier believed that they killed Noordin last month in a 16-hour siege of another terrorist hide-out in central Java, but DNA tests proved otherwise.
Malaysia's Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, on Thursday asked that Noordin's body be repatriated to his home country once the identification is completed
Sukarna said Indonesian officials were coordinating with Noordin's family in Malaysia to send his body back there "as soon as possible," but did not specify a date.
Police say Noordin, a Malaysian national, planned the 2002 and 2005 suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali and the July 17 attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. In all, he is thought to be responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people, mostly foreigners.
Noordin joined the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah in 1998 after briefly training in the southern Philippines. A disagreement over targeting civilians caused a split in Jemaah Islamiyah and Noordin formed Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad, which he reportedly called the "al-Qaida for the Malay archipelago." Its aim is to create a common Muslim state in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has hailed Noordin's death as an important blow to one the most violent factions of Muslim extremists in the region.
One of the other militants was identified as Bagus Budi Pranoto. He rejoined Noordin recently after being released from prison for his involvement in the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy here. The other two killed were identified as Aryo Sudarso, said to be an expert bomb-maker, and Hadi Susilo, who had rented the house in Solo.
The Straits Times, Noordin Top dead, 18 Sept 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_431...
VOA News, DNA Confirms Death of Terrorist Leader Noordin Top, 19 Sept 2009, http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-09-19-voa7.cfm
NPR News, Indonesian police: DNA test confirms Noordin death, 19 Sept 2009,