Police report al-Qaida helped fund suicide bombings in Indonesia

Osama bin Laden's terror network helped fund all of the suicide bombings in Indonesia in the past four years, a senior police official said Tuesday, highlighting links between al-Qaida and the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Money for the attacks, which have occurred annually in the world's most populous Muslim country since 2002, was delivered by courier to leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah, said Col. Petrus Reinhard Golose, of Indonesia 's counterterrorism task force.

"It came from the head of al-Qaida," he told reporters on the sidelines of an international terrorism conference, refusing to say if he meant bin Laden himself.

Indonesia is the only Southeast Asian nation known to have been hit by suicide bombers.

Jemaah Islamiyah is blamed for the 2002 nightclub attacks on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, attacks in the capital Jakarta in 2003 and 2004 that together killed 21, and triple suicide bombings on Bali last October that killed 20.

Indonesian authorities have claimed since 2003 that al-Qaida helped finance the terror campaign in Indonesia . But they never before provided the level of detail given by Golose, who said that Sept. 11, 2001 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad personally arranged for a courier to deliver money for the bombings.

It was not immediately clear from which country the funds originated, but he said the money passed through Thailand and Malaysia before reaching Indonesia .

"Thirty thousand U.S. dollars was sent for the first Bali bombing," Golose said. "And for the (2003) J.W. Marriott Hotel bombing it was tens of thousands of dollars."

Some of the leftover cash was used for the 2004 attack on the Australian Embassy, he said, adding that he was not sure how much al-Qaida money was used for the latest attack on Bali , targeting three crowded restaurants.

Golose said several members of Jemaah Islamiyah met directly with bin Laden in Afghanistan and signed agreements with him before launching attacks, but he did not elaborate.

Local Jemaah Islamiyah militants in Indonesia are also said to have collected donations from sympathizers and staged robberies to obtain additional funds. At least five have been convicted for robbing jewelry stores, reports the AP.

D.M.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team