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Indonesia eyes militant networks after Noordin killing

Experts say Noordin's death Thursday gives Indonesia a window to recalibrate its battle to confront other militants.

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As Indonesians take stock of the death of Noordin Top, Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist, attention is switching to the militant network that he spawned in Indonesia.

Mr. Noordin was a charismatic, university-educated Malaysian who moved to Indonesia in 2002. There he built bombs, trained young recruits, and helped organize attacks on Western targets. These included the bombing of the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003, an attack in 2004 on the Australian Embassy, and, most recently, suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on July 17.

Authorities said he died Thursday in an overnight police raid on a safe house in central Java, along with two accomplices. His death came one month after police killed a militant linked to the July 17 bombings who was mistakenly identified as Noordin. Police said this time they had matched his fingerprints.

Noordin taxed authorities with his ability to evade police dragnets, switch operational tactics, and seed new terror cells. While others are certain to try to take his place, they may struggle to replace him, giving Indonesia some breathing space to recalibrate its response to extremism, say experts on Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia.

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