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Indonesian Terrorists Have No Chance

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Several terrorism experts on Friday refuted the theory that militants were planning to use snipers to attack US President Barack Obama’s convoy during his anticipated visit to Indonesia.

Dynno Chressbon, an intelligence analyst at the Center for Intelligence and National Security, said earlier that Ario Sudarso and Mohamad Syahrir, who were declared suspects in the July 17 JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel suicide bombings by police on Wednesday, had allegedly been prepared as snipers for an attack against Obama.

Obama is widely expected to visit Indonesia when he attends the APEC summit in Singapore in November.

Chressbon also said that the men planned to attack the convoy using MK-IIIs, a Russian-made rifle that has been used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Muslim conflict areas in the Philippines.

However, security analyst and terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail said that although similar rifles had been used, the attacks in Afghanistan and the Philippines mainly targeted law enforcers and civilians with minimum security and protection.

“To target someone like Obama, they would need to infiltrate the US Secret Service and get the president’s security details,” Ismail said.

“The perpetrators also have to consider that the Secret Service would take extreme security measures and secure areas within shooting range from the president.”

Ismail said that although he was convinced Obama would be an ideal target for terrorists, carrying out such an attack would be near impossible.

“A plot like that would take years of preparations and planning,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to do it or the experience in targeting a head of state.”

Ken Conboy, author of “Inside Jemaah Islamiyah, Asia’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Network,” said that even if the two terrorists were able to obtain rifles, intense training was required before they could become snipers.

“Snipers don’t just need high-tech equipment, they also need a sniper’s mind-set,” Conboy said. “Even the military takes years to train their snipers. Where are the terrorists going to do their training here and avoid detection?”

Conboy added that even though terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan used snipers, plotting an attack in a city like Jakarta posed greater challenges.

“They need to avoid detection while waiting patiently for their prey. They would also need to plot out an escape plan and make their way through busy streets and crowds,” he said.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the July hotel bombings, while five people have been killed, including the two suicide bombers and a hotel florist, Ibrahim, who was shot down by police while hiding in a house in Temanggung, Central Java.

Five men remain at large, including the alleged mastermind, Noordin M Top, who is known as Asia’s most wanted man. Noordin is also believed to be behind several other high-profile terrorist attacks in the country.

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