Indonesian police probe an Islamic school on Jakarta bombings

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 15:22

Jakarta: Indonesian police on Tuesday were questioning teachers at an Islamic boarding school, amid reports a former student was one of two suicide bombers involved in last week`s Jakarta bombings.
A teacher at the school confirmed that police had been questioning staff at the Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Ngruki, Central Java, for the past two days following Friday`s twin suicide bombings on luxury hotels.

"The police came yesterday and today. It`s just ordinary chat. The police checking on us is normal," Al-Mukmin deputy principal Muhammad Sholeh Ibrahim said.

The coordinated blasts at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in a central Jakarta business district popular with foreigners killed seven people including three Australians, a New Zealander and an Indonesian.

Two other victims remain unidentified, possibly a Dutch couple who were reportedly guests of the Ritz-Carlton and have been missing since Friday.

More than 50 people were injured in the attacks, the worst in Indonesia since 2005.

Police and senior counter-terror officials have said the bombings look like the work of Noordin Mohammed Top, one of Asia`s most wanted terrorists and the leader of an extreme offshoot of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network.

The Ngruki school was co-founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah which is blamed for dozens of bombings across Indonesia since the late 1990s, including the 2002 Bali blasts which killed 202 people.

Police have not confirmed widespread reports in the Indonesian media that a former student -- most commonly identified as Nur Hasbi, alias Nurdin Aziz or Nur Sahid -- was the Marriott bomber.

Ibrahim said a former student called Nur Said had attended the school and graduated in 1994 along with Asmar Latin Sani, the suicide bomber who detonated a truck bomb outside the Marriott in 2003, killing 12 people.

"He was just like normal students, nothing extraordinary about him. He graduated in 1994 with Asmar," Ibrahim said of Nur Said.

The Islamic teacher denied the school was a breeding ground for suicide bombers.

"The Ngruki school is an educational institute. We have nothing to do with terrorism and I refute reports saying that," he said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 15:22

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