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Indonesian police capture top suspect in Bali bomb

The alleged organizer of last month's deadly Bali bombing was arrested Thursday on a public bus as it was about to board a ferry for the island of Sumatra.

The arrest in West Java is a major breakthrough for Indonesian police, who identified suspect Imam Samudra on Sunday as the "field commander" of the Oct. 12 attack that killed 191 people, mostly foreign tourists. Seven Americans were among the dead.

Samudra, 35, who has used many aliases, was also wanted for his role in a string of other bombings in Indonesia, including church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000 that killed 19 people.

Authorities think Samudra could provide information about Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional terrorist network associated with al-Qaida that allegedly is behind a two-year wave of bombings and killings extending from Bali to the Philippines to Malaysia.

Samudra surrendered without a struggle when police stopped the bus at 5:30 p.m., just before it boarded the ferry in the bustling West Java port of Merak, about 600 miles from the bomb site in Bali.

Police chief Dai Bachtiar said officers had begun closing in on Samudra earlier this week when they arrested two of his guards near his hometown of Serang, about 30 miles from the port. The two men, identified as Rauf and Yudi, led police to Samudra.

Indonesian media reported that Rauf was a computer expert who also was involved in the Bali bombing. They said police tracked Samudra to West Java by tracing a cellular phone number he had used.

"Three people have been arrested. One of them is Imam Samudra," Bachtiar said. "There was no resistance. There was no weapon."

Police say Samudra learned how to make bombs in Afghanistan during the late 1980s or the 1990s. He also spent many years in Malaysia, including time at an Islamic school in the city of Johor Bahru that was a meeting point for Indonesian extremists.

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