RealNews

Tips, Traced Call Led to Capture of Al Qaeda Suspect

Hambali, the top strategist for al Qaeda in Southeast Asia and the region’s most wanted fugitive, was done in by suspicious neighbors and a telephone trace, regional security officials said today. Around 11 p.m. Monday, about a dozen undercover Thai agents burst into Apartment 601 at a building in a city north of Bangkok, surprising the slumbering Indonesian cleric and his wife, security officials said. Hambali had a handgun, but did not have time to shoot, they said. Aided by the CIA, authorities found him in Ayutthaya, a city about 45 miles north of the Thai capital, by tracking one of his phone calls while he was there. They were also tipped off by Muslim Thais in the community, who were wary of the foreigner who attended the local mosque and Internet cafe, but did not speak Thai. Hambali, a key leader of the Southeast Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiah, was the focus of a massive region-wide manhunt and is believed by officials to have played an important role in the bombings on the island of Bali last year that killed 202 people. In the past year he crossed the borders of Malaysia, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand, once eluding authorities by less than a day, officials said. Full Story

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