Southeast Asia Al Qaeda Chief Killed in Raid

Noordin Muhammed Top, a regional terrorism mastermind who eluded capture for nine years and is blamed for a string of deadly attacks in Indonesia, was killed during a raid in central Indonesia, the police chief said Thursday.

Police hunting for suspects in Jakarta hotel bombings raided a hide-out in central Indonesia, sparking gunfire and an explosion Thursday that left four suspected militants dead, he said, including the Malaysian fugitive. Three alleged terrorists also were captured.

Noordin's remains were found at a house on the outskirts of the town of Solo, in central Java, said national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri.

Fingerprints in a police database matched the body to Noordin, he said.

"It is Noordin M. Top," he told a nationally televised news conference to the cheers from the audience. "He is leader of Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia."

A counterterrorism official said the dead also included alleged bomb-maker Bagus Budi Pranato. The captured militants included a pregnant woman who was being treated at a hospital, national police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said.

Police tracked the seven suspects to the town of Solo in Central Java and besieged a village house on the outskirts overnight. The raid ended near daybreak when an explosion was detonated inside the home, the spokesman said.

The operation left behind a charred house with no roof and blown-out walls. The bodies were flown to Jakarta for autopsies.

Hundreds of pounds of explosives, weapons, grenades and bombs were recovered from the scene as ambulances shuttled away the dead and injured.