RealNews

Jemaah Islamiah Has 300-Man Attack Force-Jakarta

The Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiah militant Muslim group has at least 300 fighters trained in the Philippines and Afghanistan, a senior Indonesian policeman said Thursday. The leader of the group, linked to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda and suspected of involvement in a string of attacks including last year’s Bali bomb blasts, was arrested in Thailand last week. “According to our count it would be 300, but it could be more than that,” Erwin Mappaseng, head of the police criminal investigation department, told a news conference when asked about the Jemaah Islamiah’s strength. The 300 had been trained in Afghanistan and the southern Philippines, Mappaseng said. Muslim guerrillas have been battling government forces in the south of the mostly Christian Philippines for decades. “They’re competent in war tactics including the use of bombs and explosives,” he said. The group wants to set up an Islamic state across much of Southeast Asia. It has followers in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, mostly Muslim Malaysia, as well as in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, which have Muslim minorities. Mappaseng did not say where the 300 Jemaah Islamiah were believed to be from, nor where they were thought to be based now. Full Story

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