U.S. Captures Bali Bombing Mastermind

The U.S. has captured Hambali, the alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia, the White House announced Thursday.

Hambali (search), whose full name is Riduan Bin Isomuddin, is also suspected of being the mastermind of the Aug. 5 bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people. He was in custody of the U.S. government on Thursday, being held at an undisclosed location.

"His capture is another important victory in the global war on terrorism and a significant blow to the enemy," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan aboard Air Force One. President Bush was told about the arrest on Wednesday.

Hambali is thought to be Al Qaeda's chief representative and senior planner in Southeast Asia.

He is also described as the operational director of Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian Islamic fundamentalist group blamed for both bombings as well as for another series of blasts in the southern Philippines. Jemaah Islamiyah (search) and Al Qaeda reportedly have strong ties.

Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan recently provided Hambali with money to finance a major attack, according to a senior administration official, though it was unclear where or when that attack was intended to be.

The official would not say whether that attack had been thwarted, but said Hambali would be interrogated as "part of ongoing efforts to neutralize the threat."

He described Hambali as Al Qaeda's "most important link to terrorist groups in southeast Asia," and said the capture "effectively diminishes the group's [Al Qaeda's] lethal capability."

Hambali is said to have been a close associate of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind who was captured earlier this year.

Hambali is also connected to the Sept. 11 plot, although it's unclear how much of a direct role he played.

Authorities say Hambali ordered one of his deputies to host meetings between two eventual Sept. 11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another high-ranking Al Qaeda figure, at his apartment in Malaysia in January 2000.

The news of the capture came as an Indonesian judge announced a court will on Sept. 10 hand down a verdict for another alleged organizer of the Bali blast.

Imam Samudra (search), 33, a textiles merchant and computer expert, is charged with organizing the Oct. 12 attack, which killed 202 people. If found guilty, he faces the death penalty.

Last week, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim became the first of more than 30 suspects in the case to be convicted. He was sentenced to be executed by firing squad and is now appealing his conviction.

On Thursday, prosecutors urged judges at the Denpasar District Court to reject Samudra's repeated denials that he played a key role in the attack.

"We ask the judge to give Imam Samudra the death sentence," prosecutor Nyoman Dila said, to which Samudra responded with shouts of "God is great."

Presiding Judge I Wayan Sugawa said the court planned to announce its verdict on Sept. 10.

Police say the 35 people arrested over the blasts were members of or had links with Jemaah Islamiyah.

On Thursday, the Media Indonesia newspaper said police have arrested nine people in connection with the Marriott bombing. However, national police spokesman Zainuri Lubis said he had no information on any arrests.

Fox News' James Rosen, Bret Baier and The Associated Press contributed to this report.