BALI, Indonesia – A key suspect in last year's Bali (search) bombings said Wednesday the intended targets of the attack were "the enemies of Islam," especially Americans, and that he regretted the high Australian death toll.
Ali Imron (search) made the comments to reporters after police handed to prosecutors their dossiers on him and 13 other suspects. The move is a precursor to formal charges being filed against the men for their alleged role in the Oct. 12, 2002 nightclub attacks that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Another suspect, alleged mastermind Imam Samudra (search), shouted out "Destroy America!" and "God is great!" to reporters gathered at the Bali prosecutor's office.
Imron, whose older brother Amrozi bin Nurhasyim (search) on Monday became the first of the 33 suspects to go on trial over the attack, admitted he played a role in the bombings.
He also said he was prepared to face justice over the bloodiest terror strike since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
Asked why he carried out the bombings, Imron said. "Primarily because of jihad .... against the enemies of Islam, in this regard America."
He said he "regretted" the 88 Australian fatalities, saying they "were not in line with the (operation's) objective".
Earlier, police in a tightly guarded motorcade brought the files and the handcuffed suspects to the prosecutor's office.
Lt. Col. Yatim Suyatmo said police have recommended that all 14 be charged with planning and committing a terrorist act.
Samudra, Imron and a third suspect, Hutomo Pamungkas, could face death, while the others would get prison sentences ranging from three to 15 years, he said.
Prosecutors will either formerly charge the suspects or return their files to police to seek additional information.
Amrozi, a 40-year-old mechanic, is charged with helping plan and carry out the bombings at the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar, and of purchasing a minivan and bomb-making materials used in the attack.
According to the indictment, Amrozi and 32 other suspects in custody launched the attack to punish Washington and its allies for their perceived oppression of the world's Muslims. Amrozi also faces the death penalty.
The trials are seen as a test of the government's willingness to crack down on radical Islamic groups in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.
They could also shed light on the inner workings of Jemaah Islamiyah, the Al Qaeda-linked group believed responsible for the carnage on Bali as part of wider campaign to set up a Southeast Asian Islamic state.
Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for other bombings in Indonesia and thwarted attacks on the U.S. Embassy and other Western targets in Singapore.