BEJI, Indonesia – Indonesian police stormed a house today where the regional militant leader suspected in last month’s attacks on hotels in the capital was believed hiding out with several followers, witnesses and police said.
Two local TV stations reported suspected terror chief Noordin Mohammad Top had been killed in the operation, but those reports could not be confirmed. DNA tests will likely have to be performed to ensure the identification.
The raid broke a 16-hour siege of the house in central Java province that had officers trading automatic weapons fire with the militants. At least five loud explosions had rocked the building since dawn.
Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said officers believed Noordin, who is Southeast Asia’s most wanted militant suspect, and two or three of his followers were inside, but could not immediately confirm their fate.
Minutes after the raid, witnesses said officers outside the house took off their helmets and were shaking hands with each other, suggesting all those inside had either been killed or captured. The firing ceased.
A police officer at the scene said a body was found in the bathroom of the house.
Noordin is suspected in last month’s attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the capital, Jakarta, which killed nine people and broke a four-year gap in terror strikes in Indonesia.