Noordin Mohammed Top dead, major attack averted


Latest police sketch of wanted terrorist Noordin Mohammed Top, who was killed during a raid in central Java in Indonesia. Click image for more pictures from the raid that killed Top.

Noordin Mohammed Top, Asia’s most wanted terrorist, committed suicide after a 12-hour standoff with Indonesian police in a remote farm house in Central Java.

Police made visual confirmation of Top through cameras attached to remote control robots that were deployed into the house and watched as he fled into a bathroom and, surrounded by a woman and three children, blew himself up, Metro TV reported. The explosion occurred at 8 AM Saturday local-time (9 PM EDT Friday) and was carried on live television.

Top was a senior leader in Jemaah Islamiyah and was originally from Malaysia. He was known as a top recruiter, strategist, and fundraiser, and was behind the most deadly terror attacks in Indonesia. He masterminded the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people and injured 209; the August 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta; the September 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta; and the October 2005 Bali bombings. He split from Jemaah Islamiyah in late 2005 after disagreement over the use of violence with other leaders and became the emir of Tandzim al-Qaedat Indonesia. While ties between Top’s group and al Qaeda have not yet been confirmed, his group has run Web forums that have collaborated with Jihadi forums known to be associated with al Qaeda. One such forum released an Indonesian-language propaganda video with the well-known al-Ekhlaas Forum in early 2008.

Temanggung Raid

Indonesia’s elite counterterrorism police unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88) descended on the farm house in Temanggung village late Thursday night after receiving multiple tips that Top had recently rented it. The house was quietly put under surveillance and police tracked people who came and went from the residence. By Friday afternoon, police had detained five terror suspects, according to Detik News. Interrogations confirmed that Top was indeed there.

Approximately 15 Densus 88 personnel, including snipers, secured the neighborhood and surrounded the house Friday evening. They called for the remaining suspects to give up. After firing a warning shot on the house at 7:15 PM Friday evening, a shootout ensued. Based on sporadic shots being fired from inside the house, police sources told Detik News that the suspects appeared to be low on ammunition and possibly had only two long barreled weapons, including an AK-47. However, the police were concerned about the risk of booby traps and kept a safe distance from the house.

At 6:30 AM, police were able to shoot out one of the house’s two doors and deployed cameras mounted on remote control robots. Live television coverage on Metro TV showed police storm the house to deploy the robots and then promptly retreat. A small explosion was seen inside the house, which shattered the windows.

Densus 88 was able to make a visual confirmation of Top and also revealed the presence of three children and a woman believed to be their grandmother, Kompas reported. Sources also told local media that Top was suffering from gunshot wounds.

At approximately 8 AM, a large explosion blew a hole in the roof. Police followed with sustained gun fire for 15 minutes targeting the location of the bathroom. A police source told Metro TV that Top was seen on the robot cameras retreating into a bathroom with the woman and children. He was then seen detonating a bomb. All four were killed instantly.

Five Densus 88 officers entered the house once the smoke cleared. After the police entered the home a total of five explosions were seen and sporadic gunfire was heard. By 10 AM, police erected yellow tape around the house, signaling that the location had been secured.

Top’s death has not been officially confirmed by Indonesian police.

Raid in Jatiasih

In a separate operation on Friday evening, Densus 88 raided a safe house near Jakarta in Bekasi and disrupted planned major attacks on Istana Merdeka, the presidential palace, and the president’s official residence in Cikeas, a suburb of Bogor, which is two hours south of the capital. The raid followed the capture of a Daihatsu Xenia minivan that carried a 500 Kg bomb.

Two suspected terrorists, Air Setyawan (28) and Eko Peyang (21), attempted to flee the safehouse and were shot by police. Both men died after being taken to the hospital. Both men have been associated with recent terrorist attacks and activities. Setyawan was involved in the 2004 attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta while Peyang had become Top’s main bombmaker, According to Detik News.

The raid netted five barrels of bomb making materials and three suicide bombs encased in Tupperware. The bombs and the explosives are of the same make as the July 17 Mega Kuningan attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, authorities reported. Sources also reported that “many documents” were also discovered, including addresses of suspected cell members and conspirators in Bekasi and also in East Java.

The house had recently been rented to Ahmad Ferry and Amir Abdullah, who is also known as Amir Ibrohim. The safe house was situated only five kilometers from the presidential residence in Cikeas.

The two men are two suspects in the July 17 Mega Kuningan attacks. Abdullah rented room 1808 in the JW Marriott hotel in his name, which was used as an operational base for the attacks on the Marriott and the Ritz Carlton hotel and where authorities discovered an active but undetonated bomb.

Jakarta police spokesman Irjen Wahyono told reporters that the capture of Amir Abdullah broke the case, according to Detik News. “He was captured in north Jakarta two days ago,” Wahyono said. “From this arrest we were led to Jatiasih.”

Abdullah tipped police that Ferry had traveled to Solo, Central Java, to pick up the Daihatsu minivan and the bomb. He was captured Friday night while returning to the safe house. Abdullah also revealed to authorities the identities of the Kuningan suicide bombers – Dani Dwi Permana, from Bogor, and the Ritz Carlton bomber as Nana Ichwan Maulana, from Pandeglang, Banten. Dani reportedly signed on to become a suicide bomber “out of frustration” after failing his exams. Family and friends said he disappeared two months ago.

Police are hunting for a suspect identified by the initials “SS.” He is believed to have fled to Solo in Central Java.

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  • Minnor says:

    Great use of robots, this will put US to shame. Such robots should be fit with speakers along with camera, so that full communication can be established.

  • Neo says:

    It’s a good day!
    Usually I find it vulgar to celebrate anyone’s demise, even rather nasty folks. I think I’ll make an exception for the last few days’ events.
    Here’s a toast to the professionals that got the job done. Cheers!

  • jayc says:

    For our superstitous brethren who believe in important people dying in threes…..well, this is number two…

  • IK says:

    Awesome. Between him and Bally M’s demise, it’s been a couple of good days fighing the jihadists.
    Indonesia has really done a good job the past few years. Detchment 88 must be a really well trained and motivated unit. Hats off to them – around 2003 it looked like the country might slide down to being a real dump, you know, another Pakistan.
    Typical thought about him blowing himself up around a bunch of kids. Probably hoped he’d kill them too. Burn in hell you bastard. Satan will eat your skin for all of eternity.

  • Cordell says:

    ‘According to the statement, the Ritz Carlton was also targeted because of the presence of “crusader” Manchester United players.’
    Apparently the Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad are rabid Real Madrid fans.

  • Havok says:

    w/ the Nigerian Taliban leader shot by cops this DOES makes 3 hahahah

  • Tyler says:

    Talk about a good week. Reminds me of when Zarqawi and Basayev both bit it in the same month.

  • Kevin P says:

    In the article “Setyawan was involved in the 2004 attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta while Peyang had become Top’s main bombmaker, According to Detik News.”
    According to this article,21985,25903089-661,00.html
    “At this house two men were shot dead as they attempted to launch bombs at police early yesterday.
    One of them was Air Setiawan, a man arrested and jailed for his role in the Australian Embassy bombing and who, after release from jail in 2007, rejoined the terrorists.”
    More evidence that releasing these guys is not a good idea.
    Plus some background in the partial failure of the July 17 attack in Jakarta: the bomb in room 1808 was supposed to detonate first then the suicide bombers would hit dense crowds as they headed to the reception.
    Looks like they’re wrapped up a significant cell.
    So that’s two HVTs in less than one week.

  • Cordell says:

    ‘Jakarta police spokesman Irjen Wahyono told reporters that the capture of Amir Abdullah broke the case, according to Detik News. “He was captured in north Jakarta two days ago,”

  • Rhyno327 says:

    I do agree, sometimes extraordinary tactics have to be used, especially when their are hundreds of lives at stake. I have no prob with the way this was handled.


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