Bali bomb mastermind may be dead: police

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A top-ranked Southeast Asian militant wanted for planning the 2002 Bali bombings may have been killed in a shootout with police at an Internet cafe Tuesday moments after sitting at a terminal, authorities said. DNA tests were underway to confirm his identity.

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A top-ranked Southeast Asian militant wanted for planning the 2002 Bali bombings may have been killed in a shootout with police at an Internet cafe Tuesday moments after sitting at a terminal, authorities said. DNA tests were underway to confirm his identity.

Dulmatin, a 39-year-old Indonesian trained by al-Qaida in Afghanistan who goes by one name, is wanted in the suicide bombings that tore through two Bali nightclubs popular with Westerners, killing 202 people in Indonesia’s deadliest terrorist attack.

He has been one of Southeast Asia’s most wanted fugitives and was thought to have fled to the Philippines. The U.S. government offered a reward of up to $10 million for his capture.

Local media and two Indonesian authorities who did not want to be named said Dulmatin is believed to have been shot dead by police Tuesday in the Internet cafe, the first of three suspected militants killed in two co-ordinated raids southwest of the capital on the country’s main island of Java.

Police spokesman Maj.-Gen. Edward Aritonang said investigators would await results of DNA tests before confirming identities.

Eliminating the alleged master bomb maker of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group would be a major achievement for Indonesian security forces ahead of President Barack Obama’s first visit to the country March 20-22. Terrorism in the region will be a major focus of talks.

An Indonesian broadcaster, MetroTV, has shown footage of the dead suspect slouched in a chair with a revolver in his hand and his head resting against a window frame. The face resembles photographs of Dulmatin. His hair is cropped short and his moustache and goatee beard appear neatly trimmed around a gaping mouth.

Dulmatin’s father, Djajuli, said his son has been reported dead before and that he does not believe Dulmatin is the dead man.

“His wife tells me that he’s still in the Philippines,” Djajuli, who also goes by a single name, told MetroTV from his home in Central Java province.

Dulmatin had been believed killed in the Phillippines in 2008, but DNA tests of a body found in a shallow grave there proved otherwise. Militant leader Noordin Mohammad Top, also blamed for the Bali bombings, was mistakenly reported killed in a shootout with police on Java a month before he died in a police raid in September.