KEY ALIAS(ES) Riduan bin Isomuddin (true name), Encep Nurjaman
AFFILIATION Jemaah Islamiya and al-Qa'ida
NATIONALITY Born in Indonesia, ethnically Sudanese
Indonesian-born Riduan bin Isomuddin -- best known among extremists as Hambali -- was an operational mastermind in the Southeast Asia-based Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and also served as the main interface between JI and al-Qa'ida from 2000 until his capture in 2003. Hambali helped plan the first Bali bombings in 2002 that killed more than 200 persons and facilitated al-Qa'ida financing for the Jakarta Marriott Hotel bombing the following year. In late 2002, he also directed his subordinates Lillie and Zubair to case the British High Commission in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Hambali was previously involved in the attempted assassination of the Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia in August 2000 and the bombings on Christmas Eve that year of some 30 churches across the archipelago. Hambali had longstanding ties to al-Qa'ida external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KSM). Before returning to Southeast Asia in December 2001, Hambali discussed operations with senior al-Qa'ida leaders regarding post-11 September attacks against US interests.
Hambali in 1999 established a cell of young JI operatives in Karachi, Pakistan -- dubbed al-Ghuraba -- which provided its members with advanced doctrinal and operational training, including at al-Qa'ida training camps in Afghanistan. Hambali tapped his younger brother, Rusman "Gun Gun" Gunawan, as deputy Ghuraba cell leader.
Hambali was born on 4 April 1964 in Cianjur, West Java, and is the eldest male of 11 children. His great-grandfather founded a local Islamic school, which Hambali attended during his early adolescence. Hambali was a devout Muslim youth who, at age 20, left Indonesia for Malaysia. ostensibly to seek work. While there, he met JI co-founder Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Bashir -- fellow Indonesians who had fled the Suharto regime for Malaysia -- and through them was exposed to radical Islamic teachings. Hambali tried unsuccessfully to get a scholarship to an Islamic school in Malaysia, before traveling in the mid-1980s to Afghanistan, where he fought alongside many of al-Qa'ida's future leaders. During his three-year stint in Afghanistan, he forged strong ties to Usama Bin Ladin and KSM. After returning to Malaysia in the early I 990s, Hambali and JI spiritual leader Bashir further developed their relationship and became close friends. (Source)