Established By: Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and Abdullah Sungkar
Also Known As: JI
Country Of Origin: Indonesia
Leaders: Abu Bakar Ba’asyir
Key Members: Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, Abdullah Sungkar, Abu Dujana, Azahari Husin, Noordin Top, Riduan Isamuddin, Abdul Matin
Operational Area: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore
Number Of Members: 5,000
Involved In: Terrorist attacks, Suicide bomb attacks
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Jemaah Islamiyah is a Southeast Asian militant extremist Islamist terror group dedicated to the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah (regional Islamic caliphate or state) in Southeast Asia. On October 25, 2002, immediately following the JI-perpetrated Bali bombing, JI was added to the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 as a terrorist group linked to al- Qaeda or the Taliban.
JI is a transnational organization with cells in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. In addition to al-Qaeda the group is also thought to have links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a splinter cell of the JI which was formed by Abu Bakar Baasyir on July 27, 2008.
The group has been designated as a terrorist groups by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.
It remained very active in Indonesia where it publicly maintained a website as of January 2013.
JI has its roots in Darul Islam (DI, meaning “House of Islam”), a radical Islamist/anti-colonialist movement in Indonesia in the 1940s. The JI was established as a loose confederation of several Islamic groups. Sometime around 1969, three men, Abu Bakar Bashir, Abdullah Sungkar and Shahrul Nizam ‘PD’ began an operation to propagate the Darul Islam movement, a conservative strain of Islam.
Bashir and Sungkar were both imprisoned by the New Order administration of Indonesian president Suharto as part of a crackdown on radical groups such as Komando Jihad, that were perceived to undermine the government’s control over the Indonesian population. The two leaders spent several years in prison. After release, Bashir and his followers moved to Malaysia in 1982. They recruited people from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The group officially named itself Jemaah Islamiah around that time period. JI was formally founded on January 1, 1993, by JI leaders, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar while hiding in Malaysia from the persecution of the Suharto government.
After the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, both men returned to Indonesia where JI gained a terrorist edge when one of its founders, the late Abdullah Sungkar, established contact with Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.
JI’s violent operations began during the communal conflicts in Maluku and Poso. It shifted its attention to targeting United States and Western interests in Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region since the start of the US-led war on terror. JI’s terror plans in Southeast Asia were exposed when its plot to set off several bombs in Singapore was foiled by the local authorities.
In 2004, Abu Bakar Bashir created the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council to connect Islamist groups, including JI, in Indonesia. Recruiting, training, indoctrination, financial, and operational links between the JI and other militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Misuari Renegade/Breakaway Group (MRG/MBG) and the Philippine Rajah Sulaiman movement (RSM) have existed for many years.
Bashir became the spiritual leader of the group while Hambali became the military leader. Unlike the Al-Mau’nah group, Jemaah Islamiah kept a low profile in Malaysia and their existence was publicized only after the 2002 Bali bombings.
2002 Bali bombing
Prior to the first Bali bombing on October 12, 2002, there was underestimation to the threat Jemaah Islamiah posed. After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Other terrorist attacks
In 2003, Indonesian police confirmed the existence of “Mantiqe-IV” the JI regional cell which covered Irian Jaya and Australia. Indonesian police said Muklas has identified Mantiqe IV’s leader as Abdul Rahim—an Indonesian-born Australian.
Jemaah Islamiah is also strongly suspected of carrying out the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing in Kuningan, Jakarta, the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta, the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing and the 2009 JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings. The Bali and JW. Marriott attacks showed that JI did not rule out attacking the same target more than once. The JI also has been directly and indirectly involved in dozens of bombings in the southern Philippines, usually in league with the ASG.
However, most of Jemaah Islamiah prominent figures such as Hambali, Abu Dujana, Azahari Husin, Noordin Top and Dulmatin have either been captured or killed, mostly by Indonesian anti-terrorist squad, Detachment 88. While several of its former leaders, including Malaysian Islamic extremist and Afghanistan War veteran Nasir Abbas, have renounced violence and even assisted the Indonesian and Malaysian governments in the war on terrorism. Nasir Abbas was Noordin Top’s former superior. Indonesian investigators revealed the JI’s establishment of an assassination squad in April 2007, which was established to target top leaders who oppose the group’s objectives, as well as other officials, including police officers, government prosecutors and judges handling terrorism-related cases.
In April 2008, the South Jakarta District Court declared JI an illegal organisation when sentencing former leader Zarkasih and military commander Abu Dujana to 15 years on terrorism charges.
In 2010 Indonesian authorities cracked down on the Jemaah Islamiah network in Aceh. Between February and May 2010, more than 60 militants were captured. This Aceh network was established by Dulmatin sometime after 2007 when he returned to Indonesia.
Campaign of violence:
– March 12, 2000, 3 JI members were arrested in Manila carrying plastic explosives in their luggage. One of them is later jailed for 17 years.
– August 1, 2000, Jemaah Islamiah attempted to assassinate the Philippine ambassador to Indonesia, Leonides Caday. The bomb detonated as his car entered his official residence in central Jakarta killing two people and injuring 21 others, including the ambassador.
– September 13, 2000, a car bomb explosion tore through a packed parking deck beneath the Jakarta Stock Exchange building killing 15 people and injuring 20.
– December 24, 2000, JI took part in a major coordinated terror strike, the Christmas Eve 2000 bombings.
– December 30, 2000, a series of bombings that occurred around Metro Manila in the Philippines, 22 died and over a hundred were injured. In the following years, several members of the Jemaah Islamiah for their suspected involvement in the bombings.
– June 5, 2002, Indonesian authorities arrest Kuwaiti Omar al-Faruq. Handed over to the US authorities, he subsequently confesses he is a senior al-Qaeda operative sent to Southeast Asia to orchestrate attacks against U.S. interests. He reveals to investigators detailed plans of a new terror spree in Southeast Asia.
– After many warnings by U.S. authorities of a credible terrorist threat in Jakarta, on September 23, 2002, a grenade explodes in a car near the residence of a U.S. embassy official in Jakarta, killing one of the attackers.
– September 26, 2002, the US State Department issued a travel warning urging Americans and other Westerners in Indonesia to avoid locations such as bars, restaurants and tourist areas.
– October 2, 2002, a US Soldier and two Filipinos are killed in a JI nail-bomb attack outside a bar in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga.
– October 10, 2002, a bomb rips through a bus terminal in the southern Philippine city of Kidapawan, killing six people and injuring twenty-four. On the same day The U.S. ambassador in Jakarta, Ralph Boyce, personally delivers to the Indonesian President a message of growing concern that Americans could become targets of terrorist actions in her country.
– October 12, 2002, on the second anniversary of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, a huge car bomb kills more than 202 and injures 300 on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Most are foreigners, mainly Australian tourists. It is preceded by a blast at the US consulate in nearby Denpasar. The attack known as the 2002 Bali Bombing is the most deadly attack executed by JI to date.
– Bashir was arrested by the Indonesian police and was given a light sentence for treason.
– Hambali was arrested in Thailand on August 11, 2003, and is currently in prison in Jordan, according to Haaretz.
– A bomb manual published by the Jemaah Islamiah was used in the 2002 Bali terrorist bombing and the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing.
– A British-born Australian named Jack Roche confessed to being part of a JI plot to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra, Australia on May 28, 2004. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison on 31 May. The man admitted to meeting figures like Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
– JI are widely suspected of being responsible for the bombing outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on September 9, 2004, which killed 11 Indonesians and wounded over 160 more.
– They are also suspected of committing the 1 October, 2005 Bali bombings.
– November 9, 2005, bomb-making expert and influential figure in Indonesian terrorist organization, Azahari Husin was killed in a raid at Malang, East Java.
– August 5, 2006, Al-Qaeda’s Al Zawahiri appeared on a recorded video announcing that JI and Al-Qaeda had joined forces and that the two groups will form “one line, facing its enemies”.
– June 13, 2007, Abu Dujana, the head of JI’s military operations, is captured by Indonesian police.
– June 15, 2007, Indonesian police announced the capture of Zarkasih, who was leading Jemaah Islamiah since the capture of Hambali. Zarkasih is believed to be the emir of JI.
– February 27, 2008, the leader of JI in Singapore, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre.
– April 1, 2009, Mas Selamat bin Kastari was recaptured in a raid by Pasukan Gerakan Khas and Special Branch in Johor, Malaysia.
– July 17, 2009, Jemaah Islamiah blamed for attacks on the Ritz Carlton Jakarta and the J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta.
– September 17, 2009, Noordin Top was killed in a raid by Indonesian police in Solo, Central Java. Top was a recruiter, bomb maker, and explosions expert for Jemaah Islamiyah. However, later on his colleagues in Jemaah Islamiah claimed that Noordin had formed his own splinter cell which was even more violent and militant. He was for a while dubbed the “most wanted Islamic militant in South East Asia”.
– March 9, 2010, Dulmatin was killed in a raid by Detasemen khusus 88 in Pamulang, South Jakarta
– December 13, 2010, Indonesian police charged Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah, with involvement in plans of terror and military training in Aceh province. The charge against him of inciting others to commit terrorism carries the death penalty.
– January 2012, the Philippine military announced that it had killed two key leaders of Jemiah Islamiah, a Malaysian called Zulkifli bin Hir (aka Marwan) and Mohammad Ali (aka Muawiyah). Senior intelligence sources later stated that Hir and Ali survived the air strike. Report s of Bin Hir’s death were again retracted in 2014.
– December 14, 2012, the Philippine police tries to kill a suspected Malaysian terrorist after he was trying to detonate a bomb in Davao City, Philippines, and including one of a wife from Bicol Region after being arrested by the police.
– February 26, 2014, Sheikh Kahar Mundos, a bomb maker, left a bomb in a motorcycle hidden at the city hall in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.
– June 27, 2014, Abdul Basit Usman, a bomb maker who was falsely reported killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan in 2010, is revealed to be alive and a potential terror threat.
– September 16, 2014, Jemaah Islamiyah claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Rizal Monument in front of the city hall in General Santos City, Philippines, killing one person and injuring 7.
-January 25, 2015, JI member Zulkifli Abdhir was killed in Philippines, an operation that also resulted in the death of 44 police officers.
-A few months after Marwan was killed, Abdul Basit Usman was killed by MILF that Usman has grudges.