Saudi cash link to hotel blasts

A man believed to be from Saudi Arabia has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling money used to finance last month’s deadly Jakarta hotel attacks.

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Indonesian police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said the man, identified only as Ali, had been arrested as part of the investigation into who funded the July 17 attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed nine people.

Another man, identified only as Iwan, had also been detained for questioning over his suspected links to the network of Malaysian Islamist extremist Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of the attack.

“Ali and Iwan are still being questioned by our team to prove their links with another country and with the financing,” Soekarna told reporters on Wednesday.

“Ali is believed to be a Saudi Arabian national.”

Analysts have said that if the funding for the attacks came from abroad, a likely source would be al-Qaeda.

Hunt continuing for Noordin Top

But police have not confirmed any connection between the hotel blasts and Saudi-born Osama bin Laden’s organisation.

Al-Qaeda has allegedly financed previous suicide attacks in Indonesia including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, and Noordin’s first major operation, a 2003 truck bombing of the Jakarta Marriott that killed 12.

Noordin, 41, leads a splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiah terror network, which aims to create a regional Islamic caliphate.

He is Indonesia’s most-wanted man and is blamed for a series of attacks against Westerners in the mainly Muslim country that have killed around 50 people and wounded hundreds.

DNA tests showed that a suspect killed in an August 8 raid on a militant hideout was not Noordin as initially reported, police said last week.