12 Aug 2009

Jaktara hotel bomb smuggled in with flowers

9:11 pm on 12 August 2009

Explosives used in terrorist attacks on Jakarta hotels which killed a New Zealander were smuggled inside by a hotel florist who disguised the weapons as flowers, police say.

Indonesian police on Wednesday confirmed the 37-year-old florist named Ibrohim, alias Boim, was the man killed in a raid on a farmhouse in central Java at the weekend - not militant leader Noordin Mohammed Top.

Police initially believed they had finally managed to kill Noordin, the Malaysian-born extremist who leads a hardline splinter faction of terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah.

Noordin, who has been on the run for seven years, is the suspected mastermind of suicide attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on 17 July.

Nine people were killed, including New Zealand businesman Tim Mackay, and 53 people were wounded.

Authorities believe Noordin also masterminded a 2003 attack on the Marriott, a 2004 attack on Australia's embassy in Jakarta and the 2005 Bali bombings. There is a bounty of 1 billion rupiah ($US100,900) on his head.

But DNA tests have revealed the dead man in central Java was actually Ibrohim, the "inside man" who helped plan and stage the brazen attacks.

Police say Ibrohim, who worked as a florist at the Ritz-Carlton, smuggled explosives in through the Marriott's loading bay the day before the attacks. Surveillance footage shows he packed the explosives inside flower boxes.

Just hours before the blasts, Ibrohim escorted the Ritz-Carlton bomber - Nana Ikhwan Maulana - into the hotel through an employee entrance. It is believed Nana was carrying more explosives.

Police spokesman Nanan Sukarna said investigators believed security measures at the front of the hotels had been adequate, but not at the loading dock at the back of the hotels.