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Hotel Bomb Suspects Voice Some Regret

November 03, 2003|From Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Two detained members of the militant group Jemaah Islamiah said Sunday that they regretted helping bomb the J.W. Marriott hotel in the Indonesian capital in August, killing 12, and one apologized for giving Islam a bad name.

Police permitted local TV channel SCTV to interview Tohir, alias Masrizal, and Ismail, alias Ricky Putranto, on Sunday as they were transferred to Jakarta from Bandung. Like the Indonesian capital, the town is in West Java province.

The pair were arrested in the West Java town of Cirebon on Wednesday.

"I admit that I carried out those acts," Tohir told SCTV matter-of-factly.

"I would like to apologize to the families of the victims," he added. "I would also like to apologize to all Muslims who feel that they have been slandered [by my acts] and were impacted negatively."

Ismail simply said he "regretted" the bombing before police took him away.

Tohir is suspected of helping plan the bombing and Ismail of buying the car used in the suicide attack.

Since their arrest, they have provided police with information on the whereabouts of alleged Jemaah Islamiah leaders Azahari bin Husin and Noor Din Mohammed Top, two Malaysian explosives experts considered among the most wanted terrorist suspects in Southeast Asia.

Police attempted to arrest Azahari and Top on Wednesday in Bandung, but they fled. They remained on the run as of Sunday.

Police have warned that Top and Azahari were armed with explosives and could be planning to carry out attacks.

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