JAKARTA – Indonesian police arrested two more suspects in the Bali bombings and one has confessed to playing a major planning and operational role in the Oct. 12 attack that killed 192 people, authorities said Tuesday.
Senior police officials said Ali Imron was the "field coordinator" of the blasts and is the younger brother of two suspects arrested soon after the explosions ripped through the resort island's nightclub district. Most of the dead were foreign tourists.
Imron and another suspect identified only as Mubarak were picked up by authorities on a remote Indonesian island on Monday, apparently trying to flee Indonesia.
Imron quickly confessed under interrogation, said police Gen. I Made Pastika, who is heading the investigation.
"Imron has admitted to being connected with the Bali bombings," Pastika said.
Imron admitted to driving a minivan packed with explosives to a road junction close to the Sari nightclub, where most of the victims were killed, Pastika said. He then was replaced by a second driver who parked the vehicle outside the club just before detonation, he said.
Pastika said Imron also attended a key meeting in central Java province to plan the bombings.
"Therefore his role is very important," Pastika told Jakarta's El-Shinta radio station.
Lt. Gen. Erwin Mapaseng, chief of national police detectives, said Imron was the "field coordinator" of the bombings while Mubarak was involved in financing the attacks. He did not elaborate.
So far, 17 men have been arrested in the Bali case, including two of Imron's older brothers.
The first suspect arrested in the case was his brother Amrozi, who is accused of buying bomb-making materials and the minivan used in the attack.
Imron's other brother, Ali Gufron, alias Mukhlas, allegedly helped plan the attack and is believed to be a senior figure in Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic group based in Southeast Asia that allegedly is linked to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network.
Foreign governments and some Indonesian officials have blamed Jemaah Islamiyah for the Bali bombings.
The group, which reportedly wants to set up a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia, has allegedly planned terror attacks across the region, including a series of church bombings in Indonesia in 2000.
The first trials of those accused in the Bali bombing are expected to start in February on the island, police say. The defendants will likely face possible death sentences under an anti-terrorism decree approved last year by President Megawati Sukarnoputri.