Cleric 'approved bombings'
A witness at the trial in Jakarta of Abu Bakar Ba’aysir, 64, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaida’s south-east Asia network, claimed yesterday that the Islamist cleric had approved several terrorist attacks throughout the region over the past few years. The witness, Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana, said Mr Ba’aysir had authorised a bombing campaign against churches throughout Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000 which killed 19 people, another bombing in Jakarta in 2001 and an aborted attempt to kill the president, Megawati Sukarnoputri. Mr Ba’aysir is widely thought to have also approved last October’s Bali bombings in which 202 people died, but investigators have yet to find any evidence linking him to the attack. Full Story