Osama bin Laden’s terror network helped fund suicide bombings in Indonesia over the past four years, a senior police official said Tuesday, highlighting links between al-Qaida and the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah.
The mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, personally arranged for a courier to deliver money to leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah to help fund attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim country from 2002-2005, said Col. Petrus Reinhard Golose of Indonesia’s counterterrorism task force.
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 in 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.
Direct meetings alleged
Golose said several members of Jemaah Islamiyah met directly with bin Laden in Afghanistan and signed agreements with him before launching the attacks, but he did not elaborate.
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, adding that “tens of thousands of dollars” was sent for the 2003 bombing of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta.
Some of the leftover cash was used for the 2004 attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, he said. He said he was uncertain how much al-Qaida money was used for the latest attack on Bali, targeting three crowded restaurants.