Militants behind the hotel bombings in Jakarta also planned to use snipers to attack Barack Obama’s convoy, according to an intelligence expert.
A link between the suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on July 17, which killed nine people and wounded 53, and funding from a group linked to Al Qaeda is also being investigated, Dynno Chressbon, from the Centre for Intelligence and National Security, said.
He said that two of the four wanted suspects, Ario Sudarso and Mohamad Syahrir, had been trained for an attack on Obama, who is expected to visit Indonesia before the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Singapore in November.
“For Obama, they planned to attack the convoy around the airport using MK-IIIs,” he said, referring to a Russian-made sniper rifle that he said was used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Muslim conflict areas in the Philippines.
An Indonesian police spokesman could not be reached for comment yesterday, but the sniper plot and a thwarted plot to attack Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian President, indicate the scale of the ambitions of Indonesian militants may be higher than first thought.
The alleged snipers were from a group called the Indonesian Islamic State, which has a training camp in the restive southern Philippines and received support from a group headed by the Malaysian-born militant Noordin Mohammad Top, Chressbon said.
Top is believed to be the mastermind behind the hotel attacks, which killed nine people and wounded 53.