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Linked to bali { October 20 2002 }

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Bin Laden Paid for Bali Bombing
Sunday, October 20, 2002

Usama bin Laden has been linked to the Bali bombing by the testimony of one of his senior lieutenants.

The man has told CIA interrogators that thousands of dollars from an account controlled by bin Laden was used to buy explosives by the Islamist group suspected of the attack. A confidential American intelligence document, seen by The Sunday Times, reveals that $74,000 was transferred from an account in the name of Sheikh Abu Abdullah Emirati, one of bin Laden's pseudonyms, to pay for three tons of explosives bought from the Indonesian military.

Nearly 200 people died in the attack on the Sari nightclub last weekend, including more than 30 Britons. C4, a powerful plastic explosive used by the military, was also used in the Bali bomb although its origins are not yet known.

The revelation adds weight to the claim that the Bali bombing was part of co-ordinated worldwide attacks on Western interests and not the work of a disaffected local group. It raises new questions about why the British and Australian governments, to which the intelligence was made available by the CIA, did not respond more quickly to the threat by bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist group.

The intelligence document details a confession made by Omar Faruq, described as bin Laden's envoy in southeast Asia, who was arrested in Indonesia in June and handed over to the CIA in Afghanistan. Faruq described a series of plots to kill Westerners, Indonesians and Israelis, including:

Random shooting of Israelis and Americans at hotels across Indonesia. This was abandoned because it would have only "minimal impact."

Hijack a civilian aircraft and fly it into an Israeli target.

A plot in May 2002 to blow up American naval vessels during U.S.-Indonesian military naval exercises, for which Faruq was trained in planting underwater explosives.

A chemical attack using cyanide to be sprayed from perfume bottles.

The plans were devised by Faruq and Indonesian co-conspirators after Al Qaeda sent him to southeast Asia in the 1990s to establish links with groups fighting for a separate Islamic state. He tried to enroll in pilot training for a suicide attack, before joining the Khalden terror training camp in Afghanistan.

In 2000 he escorted Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Al Qaeda second-in-command, on a trip to Indonesia to forge closer ties with rebel groups trying to force out Christians from the mainly Muslim Indonesian archipelago.

Faruq, a Kuwaiti, describes two attempts to kill Megawati Sukarnoputri, the Indonesian president and daughter of Sukarno, the nation's founding father. One bid failed when the group could not get hold of guns. The other ended with the assassin blowing his leg off when the bomb exploded prematurely in a shopping mall in Jakarta, the capital.

Faruq claimed to American interrogators that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah, the Islamist group suspected of the Bali bombing, received $74,000 from the bin Laden account. Ba'asyir sent his assistant to buy explosives -- illegally sold by the Indonesian army -- which were then distributed to Islamist groups there.

In a fresh development, Indonesian police are seeking a local woman suspected of having detonated the bomb. She was seen by witnesses jumping from a mini-van parked in front of the Sari club last Saturday. Police in Bali said investigators had so far questioned 67 people in connection with the nightclub blasts, but there were no formal suspects.

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