Radical cleric arrested in new terror probe

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The Independent Online

Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, once imprisoned for his links to the terror group behind the Bali bombings, was arrested today for alleged involvement with a new militant network.

His lawyer, Muhammad Ali, said the arrest took place in West Java's Ciamis district.

Bashir is best known as the founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Q'aida-linked terrorist group responsible for the 2002 bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

He spent several years in prison for his involvement with the group, but was released in 2006.

He was arrested today for alleged involvement with a new terror cell in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh, the lawyer said.

Authorities discovered the new group in February and said it was allegedly planning to assassinate the president and carry out Mumbai-style attacks targeting foreigners.

Dozens of suspects linked to that cell, which called itself al-Qa'ida in Aceh, have been arrested or killed in recent months.

Rumours have circulated for weeks that Bashir, a fiery preacher known for propagating hatred against foreigners, was next on the list.



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