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DNA Tests Confirm Southeast Asia Al Qaeda Chief Killed

DNA tests have confirmed it was Southeast Asia terrorist leader Noordin Top who was killed days ago in a shootout with police, Indonesian police said Saturday.

Police used fingerprints to identify Noordin's body after a gun battle at a safe house in central Java on Thursday. DNA tests have confirmed those findings, National Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said.

"There's no longer any doubt," Sukarna said.

Last month, authorities initially believed a terror suspect killed by police was Noordin, but DNA tests proved otherwise.

Police say Noordin, a Malaysian national, planned the 2002 and 2005 suicide bombings on the resort island of Bali and the July 17 attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. In all, he is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 222 people, mostly foreigners.

Sukarna said Indonesian officials were coordinating with Noordin's family in Malaysia to send his body back there "as soon as possible," but he did not specify a date.

Regional leaders have cheered Noordin's demise and were optimistic his death could help undermine terror groups throughout Southeast Asia.

"This is a very significant result," Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in an interview Friday on Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

"This man has been a mass murderer," he said. "He's been responsible for the murder of Australians."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also congratulated Indonesia on Friday.