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Monday, July 03, 2006

Ba'asyir says Indonesian holy warriors should go to Israel

JAKARTA (AP): A reputed leader of an al-Qaeda-linked terror group said Monday that Indonesia should send Islamic holy warriors to Israel to punish it for unleashing airstrikes in Palestinian territories.

"Israel is the enemy of Allah," militant cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir told hundreds of members of the Muslim-based Crescent Star Party in the capital Jakarta. "That is why Indonesia should send holy warriors there."

Ba'asyir, who recently completed a 26-month jail term for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 dead, spoke as Israel massed tanks and troops along Gaza's northern border. That followed a weekend of escalating violence in Palestinian territories, triggered by the capture of an Israeli soldier.

While supporting Israel unconditionally, the United States and Australia allege that Ba'asyir is a key leader in the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Jamaah Islamiyah, blamed for a string of bloody bombings across Indonesia since 2000.

His release from prison last month raised concerns that he would energize Indonesia's small, Islamic radical fringe by making impassioned speeches at rallies and mosques. (***)
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