Indonesia police identify suspect in mosque attack

AP News
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Posted: Apr 16, 2011 10:55 AM
Indonesia police identify suspect in mosque attack

Residents have identified a photo of the head of the suspect in a suicide bombing at an Indonesian mosque where a group of police officers were praying, police said Saturday.

Thirty people, mostly policemen, were wounded in the blast Friday in the West Java town of Cirebon.

Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Anton Bahrul Alam said a number of people contacted police after the photo of the suspect was released and identified him as Muhammad Syarif, 24, a Cirebon resident.

Andi Mulya, leader of a hard-line Islamic group in Cirebon, the Anti-Apostasy and Nonbelievers Movement, confirmed that the suspect was Syarif and said he often joined the group's protests but was not a member.

"He came on his own initiative," Mulya told MetroTV.

Videos shown on TV showed Syarif taking part in various actions, including an attack on riot police and the detention of an alleged blasphemer.

Other media reports quoted Syarif's pregnant wife, Sri Maliha, as saying he had left two weeks ago to look for work.

Alam said police are examining DNA samples collected from Syarif's parents and brother to see if they match those from the suspected bomber, whose mangled body was found at the scene of the blast. His head is still intact.

"Hopefully it was Syarif, and it can lead us to the motive and terror network behind this," Alam said.

He said the bomber was wearing five layers of pants to hide the bomb strapped to his body.

Friday's attack was the first on a mosque in Indonesia since extremists began targeting the predominantly Muslim country a decade ago, when the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network attacked two crowded nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.