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Indonesia police say did not kill leading militant

INDONESIAN police said today that forensic tests showed a suspect shot dead in a raid on a farmhouse in Central Java at the weekend was not leading Islamic militant Noordin Mohammad Top.

Top is believed to be the mastermind behind last month's near simultaneous suicide attacks on Jakarta's JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels which killed nine people and wounded 53.

Police sources at the weekend were confident that Top had been killed, but widespread doubt had quickly emerged on whether they had got their man.

Media reports quoting police sources have suggested Top probably fled the farmhouse in Temanggung, Central Java, about two hours before police raided the house.

News that Top has managed to elude police again and remains on the run is a blow for Indonesian security forces and efforts to contain further attacks in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

The man killed in Central Java was identified as Ibrohim, who worked in the florist in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta and is suspected to be the inside man on the attacks.

"We checked samples with (Ibrohim's) family in Cilimus and its a 100 percent match," Eddy Suparwoko, head of Indonesia's Disaster Victim Identification unit, told a news conference. Cilimus is a district in Cirebon in West Java.

Police showed CCTV footage where Ibrohim, who called himself Boim at work, appeared to be surveying parts of the lobby and restaurant in the hotel.

National police spokesman Nanan Soekarna described him as the "field commander" for the operations. Police said he had been a member of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) since 2000.

"He was the planner, organise, controller, operator of JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings," added Soekarna.

Top, who formed a violent wing of the JI militant network, is blamed for a series of attacks including on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and in Bali in 2005.

He is among the most-wanted of JI's members, with a bounty of 1 billion rupiah ($100,900) on his head.


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