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Terror notebook

Bali suspect shows how bomb built

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 12, 2003

BALI, Indonesia -- A key suspect in October's Bali nightclub bombings apologized to the victims' families on Tuesday and showed reporters how he and others allegedly assembled the explosives that killed 192 people, most of them foreign tourists.

Wearing a fake suicide bomb vest over his blue prison uniform, Ali Imron conducted a bizarre news conference at police headquarters and confessed to coordinating the attack on the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar.

Imron boasted about his bombmaking skills and then voiced remorse for the carnage blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked Islamic group.

"Our capabilities as Indonesians are something to be proud of, but they were used for a wrong purpose," said Imron, who claimed he learned how to make bombs in Afghanistan and has admitted helping plan the Oct. 12 attack.

"I hope that there will be no more arguments about who really detonated the Bali bombs," he said. "In my heart, I regret this. I want to apologize to the victims' families in Indonesia and to foreign families."

Investigators have rounded up 29 suspected members of Jemaah Islamiyah since the bombings, including Imron. But they have struggled to convince a skeptical public that a group of Indonesians planned and carried out the bombings, despite confessions from many of the suspects.

As a result, detectives have staged a series of re-enactments aimed at showing how the attack was executed.

Also . . .

BUSH, CHENEY KEEP THEIR DISTANCE: Since the administration put the nation on "high" terror alert on Friday, the White House has tightened its practice of keeping President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney apart, aides said Tuesday. Cheney is much more likely to be out of Washington whenever Bush is in town, they say. Cheney did not go to the Senate Republicans' weekly policy lunch Tuesday on Capitol Hill, a gathering that he usually attends. With Congress scheduled for a weeklong recess next week, Cheney may well slip away to his mountain house in Jackson, Wyo., freed for the moment from his duties as the administration's chief conduit to Congress.

AFGHANISTAN ATTACK: U.S. Special Forces troops ran into an ambush early Monday during a reconnaissance mission in southern Afghanistan. They escaped injury after calling in airstrikes on at least five gunmen positioned in caves, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday. Two Dutch F-16 planes, part of the coalition force, dropped laser-guided bombs, and U.S. A-10 planes fired machine guns into the ridge and caves where the gunmen had been seen. It was unclear if the rebels had suffered any casualties.

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