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Jemaah Islamiyah member admits role in foiled 2001 terror attack

[JURIST] A Singaporean member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive] terrorist group admitted his role in plotting the foiled 2001 attack of an Indonesian airport, while testifying at the trial of two Indonesian terrorist suspects in the South Jakarta District Court Thursday. Mohammad Hassan bin Saynudin said that in 2001, he and other JI operatives planned to hijack a flight from Bangkok and crash it into Singapore's Changi Airport, but the plan failed and he escaped to Indonesia. Saynudin, who has been in Indonesian custody since July for allegedly planning a failed terrorist attack in an Indonesian bar, has previously admitted his involvement in terrorist activities. Last month he told the court that he met with Osama bin Laden [Straits Times, report] and tried to recruit Indonesians for al Qaeda purposes. Saynudin's testimony came at the trial of JI members Anis Sugandi and Sukarso Abdillah, who have admitted to murder and plotting to kill Christian clergy in Indonesia. Saynudin has been charged in the same incident and faces life in prison in a separate trial.

JI has been blamed for a series of terrorist attacks on westerners including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings [BBC backgrounder], which killed 202 people. Last November, three JI members were executed [JURIST report] following convictions for their involvement in those bombings. Before their executions, the three men had called on Islamic militant groups to carry out retribution attacks, which resulted in stepped-up security in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and a warning [text] issued by the US embassy in Indonesia. Last April, an Indonesian court convicted two JI leaders [JURIST report] on terrorism charges and recognized JI as a terrorist organization.

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