A man who has confessed to being one of those who carried out last year’s bomb attacks in Bali admitted yesterday having known Osama bin Laden, but said the al-Qaida chief played no part in attacking the Indonesian resort. Ali Ghufron, known as Mukhlas, was giving evidence for the prosecution at the trial in Jakarta of Abu Bakar Ba’aysir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the group held responsible for the Bali bombings that killed 202 people last October. Asked by a judge if he had links to Bin Laden, Mukhlas said: “Yes, I knew him well.” He did not elaborate, and made no mention of the al-Qaida organisation, but said he was inspired to wage armed jihad while fighting in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1989. Intelligence agencies believe that in 1987 he got to know the Saudi-born dissident who heads the terrorist organisation blamed for the September 11 terror attacks on the US. Full Story
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