ISI claims credit for arrest of Bali bomb suspect

Umar Patek is one of the alleged masterminds of the 2002 bombings in Bali.

Updated: Mar 31, 2011, 14:06 PM IST

Islamabad: The arrest of fugitive Umar Patek, a member of al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah and 2002 Bali bombings suspect, was made possible only due to the efforts of the Inter-Services Intelligence, an ISI officer has claimed.

“We captured him a few days ago and now as is the protocol, the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related departments will ensure that he is taken back to Indonesia,” The News quoted the ISI officer, as saying.

When asked whether it was a joint effort by several intelligence organisations that resulted in the terrorist’s arrest, the officer replied: “No, it was entirely the efforts of the ISI.”

Patek, one of Indonesia`s most-wanted terrorists, is one of the alleged masterminds of the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, including more than 80 Australians and seven US citizens.

The 35-year-old Javanese Arab is presently being interrogated by the ISI, and will only be handed over to Indonesia after these interrogations are completed, according to the report.

The ISI officer said that at this point of time, he was not ready to reveal more details or to tell what Patek was doing in Pakistan since his organisation Jemaah Islamiyah is not known to have carried out any terrorist activity in the country.

But the officer did hint that Patek might have turned up in Pakistan thinking that it was a safe haven for terrorists, however, no details were given about the exact place from where Patek was nabbed.

When told that the ISI had finally achieved something positive after all the negative attention they had garnered after allowing double murder accused CIA contractor Raymond Davis to escape from Pakistan, he replied, “Do not worry, you will soon be hearing more good news of ISI’s accomplishments.”

However, it remains unclear whether Pakistan stumbled on Patek or his arrest was the result of an intelligence tip, the report said.

Details about what Patek was doing in Pakistan also remain unclear, raising doubts whether he was there to plan an attack with al Qaeda’s top operational leaders as the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States approaches.

The US was offering a USD 1 million reward for the arrest of Patek, who is known as the “little Arab”, said the report, adding that the US embassy spokesperson Alberto Rodriguez was contacted several times over the arrest of Patik, but he did not respond.