Radical cleric held in Indonesia crackdown

Indonesian anti-terror police have detained radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir and several other militants in a crackdown on a network found making bombs and planning to attack the country's president.

The detention of Bashir yesterday, considered by many foreign governments as a driving force for radical Islamic movements in Indonesia, shows Jakarta is stepping up a fight against a relatively new network plotting a coup to form a sharia state.

"We knew this group had made the president the target of their attack," said police spokesman Edward Aritonang after Bashir's detention.

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Bashir, who said his detention was a US plot, was linked to a militant training camp in the Aceh region, the only province with Islamic sharia law in a country that is home to the world's largest Muslim population.