Indonesia captures major terror suspect

Fugitive wanted in plot to blow up U.S. embassy

February 04, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesian police have arrested one of the most hunted terrorist suspects in Southeast Asia, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, who is accused of having been involved in plots to attack U.S. facilities in the region.

Kastari was arrested Sunday, on the Indonesian island of Bintang, just off Singapore, the Indonesian police announced yesterday. Singaporean authorities have said that Kastari is the leader of the Singaporean cell of Jemaah Islamiyah, the radical Islamic group based in Indonesia.

Kastari had been on the run since December 2001, after a plot to blow up the American Embassy in Singapore was uncovered and more than a dozen of Kastari's alleged cell members were arrested. He had threatened to retaliate by hijacking an American jet and crashing it into Singapore's airport.

In a white paper issued last month on Jemaah Islamiyah and the threat of terrorism, the Singaporean government listed Kastari as one of the key people to be arrested, along with Riudan Isammudin, better known as Hambali. He remains at large.

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