A masked man believed to be one of Asia's most wanted terrorists threatened the United States, Britain and Australia in a video seized from his hideout, saying "you will be the target of our next attack."
Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohamad Top is allegedly a key leader of the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is accused of orchestrating at least four deadly bombings targeting Westerners in Indonesia.
"As long as you keep your troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and intimidate Muslim people, you will feel our intimidation and our terror," the man said in the video obtained Thursday by Associated Press Television News. "You will be the target of our next attack." Police said they believed the masked man was Noordin, who is seen as Jemaah Islamiyah's key strategist and recruiter. "Judging from his accent, we believe it was Noordin," national police chief Gen. Sutanto told reporters.
He said the video was found along with several other recordings one week ago in a hideout in central Java province that had been used by Noordin, who fled before officers arrived.
About the same time, anti-terror police raided the safehouse of fellow Malaysian Azahari bin Husin, who was said to be Noordin's right hand man, killing him as he tried to detonate his suicide belt. Azahari's body was being flown to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday for burial. "Our enemy is America, Australia, England and Italy," the masked man said, pointing his finger at the camera.
Later, he singled out Australia, which last week arrested 18 Islamic terror suspects in coordinated pre-dawn raids in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney. "Especially you," he said to Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. "You are bringing all the Australian people to darkness and terrorizing the mujahedeen ... Remember that."
Downer on Thursday said Australia would not be intimated. "No democratic country like Australia should be intimidated by a fanatic like Noordin Top," he told reporters in his hometown of Adelaide. "We have to make it perfectly clear that whatever these people do, whatever threats they make, we have got the strength and courage to stand up to that."
Noordin and Azahari have been accused of direct involvement in at least four terror attacks: the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists; two bombings in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004 that took 22 lives; and the Oct. 1 suicide attacks on Bali that caused 20 more deaths.
Three men who carried out last month's near simultaneous suicide attacks on crowded Bali restaurants also appeared in the video Thursday, telling their families they expect to be rewarded in heaven.
It is believed to be the first time suicide bombers in Indonesia have made a video before launching an attack, said Bali police chief Maj. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika.
Jemaah Islamiyah, which wants to establish an Islamic state spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the southern Philippines, has been weakened by a regional crackdown in recent years, reports the AP. I.L.
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