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US Sanctions Southeast Asian Terror Leaders

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U.S. officials are taking more steps to cut off funding for a Southeast Asian-based terror group with links to al-Qaida.

The U.S. Treasury Department Tuesday announced sanctions against three leaders of Jemaah Islamiya , prohibiting anyone in the United States from having financial dealings with them and freezing any U.S.-based assets.

One of the designated terror leaders is Umar Patek, a senior JI member suspected of playing a key role in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, mostly Westerners.

Pakistani officials extradited Patek to Indonesia last week, after arresting him in the city of Abbottabad in January, months before al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in the same city. Indonesian officials have said they believe Patek was trying to meet with bin Laden when he was captured.

The United States also sanctioned Abdul Rahim Ba'asyir and Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman.

U.S. officials say Ba'asyir has trained and led terror operatives in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia. They say Jibril has played a key role in securing funding for JI activities. Indonesia sentenced Jibril in 2010 to five years in jail in connection with a series of attacks in Jakarta in July 2009.

The group known as Jemaah Islamiya, which wants to create a strict Islamic state across much of Southeast Asia, was responsible for scores of bombings across the country in the last decade. The Indonesian government has aggressively captured and tried suspected JI followers, and many are in prison.

Article by VOA News