Jakarta: Indonesian anti-terrorism forces Tuesday killed a man believed to be one of the masterminds behind the 2002 Bali bombings, Dulmatin, during a raid on the outskirts of Jakarta, police said.
Gunfire was heard as police raided a two-storey shophouse at around 11:00 am (0400 GMT) in Pamulang city west of the capital, witnesses told local television.
Witnesses said they saw a body bag taken from the building into an ambulance following the gunfight.
A police source told the man was believed to be Dulmatin, one of the most-wanted leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group and an Al-Qaeda-trained bomb-making specialist with a 10-million-dollar bounty on his head under the US Rewards for Justice programme.
Believed to be in his late 30s, he is accused of helping JI plan and carry out the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people on the Indonesian resort island, most of them foreign tourists.
There was no official confirmation on the man`s identity but police are due to hold a press conference late afternoon.
Security ministry anti-terrorism chief Ansyaad Mbai told AFP that "if it`s true that it`s him, we will be very grateful that the most wanted terrorist has been killed in Pamulang. It will be a big relief to us."
Anti-terrorism police chief Tito Karnavian confirmed that the man killed was linked to the militant group in Aceh province in the north of the island of Sumatra.
"Yes he is the culprit, the one that sent people to Aceh. He`s a big name," Karnavian told reporters. National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said Monday that 16 suspects had been charged under anti-terrorism laws in a series of police raids starting from February 22 on an militant training facility in Aceh.
JI is a Southeast Asian extremist group inspired by Al-Qaeda. Its ultimate goal is to unite Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and the southern Philippines into a fundamentalist Islamic state, using terrorist attacks to destabilise governments across Southeast Asia.
The group has carried out more than 50 bombings in Indonesia since April 1999, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, including the 2002 Bali bombings and similar attacks on the resort island in 2005 that killed 20.
The last bombing in Indonesia killed seven people and two suicide bombers in two luxurious hotels in capital Jakarta in July 2009.
Malaysian terror mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top, killed in September 2009, allegedly organised the attacks as part of his Al-Qaeda-inspired "holy war" on the West.