Testimony in a terrorism trial in Indonesia indicates that the late Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden directly funded the bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202, many of them Western tourists.
Osama bin Laden gave the Jemaah Islamiyah $30,000 to carry out terror attacks in Southeast Asia, a key witness in the ongoing trial of Bali bombmaker Umar Patek told a Jakarta court yesterday.
Ali Imron said the funds were sent to his older brother Mukhlas, a JI leader who was executed in 2008 for his role in the 2002 Bali blasts that killed 202 people. Ali Imron is serving a life term for taking part.
Asked by prosecutors whether there was a link between Al-Qaeda and the JI, he said: “Osama’s connection with us was on an individual level. Mukhlas said in 2001 he had met Osama, who gave $30,000 for jihad in South-east Asia.”
His testimony is believed to be the first time a court has heard explicitly that the Al Qaeda leader financed the South-east Asian terror network, even though others have alluded to it.
The funds, the authorities said, also went towards the 2003 truck bomb blast at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 and injured some 150 people.
Indonesian authorities had previously disclosed that the funds for the Bali blasts came from JI operations chief Hambali, who is currently in United States custody and likely to face a military tribunal.
Regional sources said Hambali received the funds in Karachi from Ammar al-Baluchi, the nephew of Sept11, 2001 terror mastermind and Osama’s right-hand man, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Hambali then handed the cash over to JI treasurer Wan Min Wan Mat, who passed it on to Mukhlas.