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JI's graduates, the militant class of 2004

JI's graduates, the militant class of 2004

Author: Simon Kearney
Publication: The Australian
Date: October 29, 2005
URL: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17070661%255E2702,00.html

The names of Jemaah Islamiah's terrorist class of 2004 have been uncovered in the southern Philippines after intelligence officers found a list of the latest mujaheddin to graduate from the group's training camps.

A senior Philippine intelligence source said officers had found documents during arrests of terrorist suspects.

"We have identified 34 by name," the source said.

"There was training conducted in three batches last year. The third graduated in early January this year."

The 34 names could include aliases, so there is no way of telling if they refer to 34 different individuals.

Philippine and Australian counter-intelligence officials estimate there are between 30 and 60 wanted JI suspects on the run in The Philippines.

The intelligence source said the suspected terrorists were trapped in the southern Philippines and had sought refuge with a rebel faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao after increased border patrols by Indonesia and Malaysia had cut off their return. "It's very hard to see them because they are operating in very small cells composed of three people each," the source said.

The information was confirmed by Philippines Senate defence committee chairman and former army chief of staff Rodolfo Biazon, as well as MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu and an Australian counter-intelligence official, who said the estimated numbers were "in the ballpark". The hunt to capture the fugitives is now being aided by a team of Australian Federal Police counter-terrorism agents, who have been operating in The Philippines since late last year.

The AFP team - which includes forensic and technical experts, bomb technicians, investigators, analysts and intelligence officers - was providing Philippine counter-terrorism agencies with "important information", particularly in relation to the terrorists hiding in central Mindanao, the source said.

Most of those wanted are the suspected planners of the two Bali bomb attacks - Azahari bin Husin, Umar Patek and Dulmatin, who has a $13million bounty on his head.

They were spotted at a meeting in June with the chief of the Abu Sayyaf terror group, Janjalani, and the leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, Hilarion del Rosario Santos, who was captured on Wednesday.

An Australian counter-terror official told The Weekend Australian that the group, comprising Filipino overseas guest workers who had converted to Islam while working in the Middle East, was an emerging threat.


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