The sister of a notorious al-Qaida-linked terrorist suspect killed by Indonesian police last week said her family was glad he suffered a quick death rather than being captured alive and jailed, a news report said Monday.
Police said Azahari bin Husin, a Malaysian alleged to have been an explosives expert for the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group, was shot in the heart Wednesday as he reached to detonate a suicide belt. He was accused of coordinating a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia that have killed 244 people since 2002.
"We are glad he died the way he died, in a hail of bullets, rather than being caught and imprisoned," The New Straits Times quoted Azahari's 45-year-old sister, Suraya, as saying.
His brother and one other relative are in Jakarta to identify Azahari's body and make arrangements for it to be returned to Malaysia for burial in his hometown in central Malacca state.
Indonesian forensic experts say Azahari, shot by anti-terror police in the town of Batu, has been positively identified through his fingerprints, but DNA tests can also be carried out if his family requests them.
Suraya said the family would remember Azahari, who fled to Indonesia in 2001 during a crackdown on suspected militants in Malaysia, as an intelligent person who loved sports and cowboy movies and thought that girls were "soppy," the New Straits Times said.
Suraya said prior to the crackdown, her father and other family members heard rumors of Azahari's links with militants but they did not ask him about it.
"There was no point," the newspaper quoted Suraya as saying. "He was a secretive man and we learned not to pry. If he did not want to tell you, he would not, no matter what. He would just walk away."
Suraya was not immediately available for comment.
Suraya said she had a tough time explaining the media reports of Azahari's alleged involvement in bombings in Indonesia to her six children, saying "they just have to draw their own conclusions" about their slain uncle, the newspaper said, AP reported. V.A.