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Jemaah Islamiyah's terror campaign


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• War against terror: Southeast Asia front 
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(CNN) -- The shadowy terror group known as Jemaah Islamiyah first came to international attention when the Bali bombings of October 2002 provided a stark warning of the group's abilities and its deadly ambitions.

Active across much of Southeast Asia, JI has close ties with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and has as its stated goal the creation of a pan-Islamic superstate encompassing Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and parts of the Philippines.

So little is known about how the group operates that it is unclear who exactly pulls the strings.

According to Indonesian government officials, radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is the group's spiritual leader -- a charge he has repeatedly rejected, denying also that the group even exists.

The Bali blasts killed 202 people and were the worst terrorist attack since the September 11 hijackings in the United States.

However, JI has been linked by investigators to several other attacks and despite the arrest of several of the group's members, experts say dozens of cells remain active across the region, capable of carrying out further atrocities.

The following is brief run-down of the some of the key JI-linked attacks and plots of recent years:

1999

Police say Ba'asyir launched a plot to assassinate then Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri as part of a campaign to destabilize Indonesia and topple the government. Although the plot itself was never carried out, for reasons that are unclear, police suspect it led directly to other attacks.

December 24 2000

A pre-Christmas wave of bomb attacks on churches across Indonesia leaves 18 dead and many injured. Investigators say the attacks were designed to spark sectarian violence across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Ba'asyir was arrested and questioned over his role in the anti-Christian campaign but later released.

December 30 2000

A series of near simultaneous bombings in the Philippine capital, Manila, kill 22 people.

The U.S. State Department says JI operations chief, Nurjaman Riduan Ismuddin, a.k.a Hambali, helped plan the attacks. Hambali is believed to be the key link between JI and al Qaeda.

Also implicated in the Manila bombings was Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi, a self-confessed follower of Ba'asyir and a man believed to be one of JI's top bomb makers. Jailed the following year for possession of explosives, Al-Ghozi escaped from prison in Manila in July 2003.

December 2001

Singapore police round up more than a dozen suspects accused of plotting attacks on American, Israeli, Australian and British targets in the city-state.

Later, in mid-2002, CNN discovers an archive of videotapes in an al Qaeda house in Afghanistan, one of which shows an apparent terrorist surveillance operation for a bomb attack on American servicemen close to a Singapore subway station.

October 12 2002

Three near simultaneous explosions in the resort town of Kuta, Bali, kill 202 people, most of them young tourists on a night out. More than 30 people, most of whom police say have direct connections with JI, have been arrested and put on trial for their role in the bombings.

In the wake of the Bali attacks JI was officially designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, freezing its assets and intensifying international efforts to crack down on the group.

August 5 2003

Car bomb attack on the American-owned J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta leaves 12 dead and scores of injured. Investigators say the body of a JI recruit was found among the rubble.

Forensic examinations have also shown the bomb used in the Marriott blast to be a similar type to that used in the largest and most deadly of the three Bali bombs.

August 11 2003

Hambali, one of the most wanted terrorists in Southeast Asia and a key JI leader is arrested by Thai police in the town of Ayuthaya.

Later, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said JI had been plotting to attack the American and Israeli embassies in Bangkok.

Hambali's arrest in Thailand has also raised suspicions that he was helping a JI plot to target the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit scheduled to be held in the Thai capital in October.


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