Wife of fugitive Indonesian militant detained

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The Independent Online

One of the wives of Southeast Asia's most-wanted militants was detained for questioning today after last week's bombings at two luxury hotels in the Indonesian capital that killed seven people, local television reported.

Anti-terrorism police detained Ariana Rahma, who is married to Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammad Top, the TVOne and MetroTV broadcasters said without citing sources.

Police intended to take her to Jakarta, where suicide bombers at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels killed seven, including six foreigners, and wounded more than 50 on Friday. It was the first terrorist attack in Indonesia in nearly four years.

No official suspects have been named, but terrorism experts and investigators were quick to blame Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah or its violent offshoots, which carried out a string of al-Qaida supported attacks between 2002 and 2005.

Noordin joined Jemaah Islamiyah in 1998 after brief training in the southern Philippines.

Counterterrorism police stepped up the manhunt for Noordin, who has been at large for many years and narrowly escaped capture several times, because explosives found at the scene Friday were "identical" to those used in earlier blasts.

Indonesian police today issued sketches of two men believed to have carried out the suicide attacks, while Malaysian police questioned three of Noordin's supporters.

Noordin allegedly planned the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings and attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Australian Embassy in 2003 and 2004. Together they killed more than 240 people.

The latest bombings killed three Australians, a Dutch couple, a New Zealander and an Indonesian cook. One of the Australian victims was the first diplomat from the country to die in a terrorist attack.

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