It seems that Public Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden, wasn't the only highly-sought-after terrorist that found his way to a middle class suburb north of Islamabad, Indonesia's Jakarta Post reports.
In January, Umar Patek, Indonesia's most wanted terror suspect and leader of al-Qaida's Southeast Asian affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested just minutes from where al-Qaida's top leader was shot and killed early Monday. Officials purport that Patek, a key player in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 civilians, was visiting Abbottabad with his wife in order to meet with bin Laden. They were said to have been travelling on fake Indonesian passports.
But not everyone is convinced that Patek met with the al-Qaida leader. A U.S. counterterrorism official told ABC News Thursday that the arrest appears to be more of a "coincidence."
Patek reportedly was nabbed by Pakistani authorities before ever having the opportunity to make contact with bin Laden or visit the al-Qaida leader's walled compound. Since that time, he has been held in a Pakistani prison and has reportedly undergone questioning by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
In April, Pakistan publically stated a willingness to extradite the JI operative to Indonesia for trial, but since has stalled all attempts to make that happen.
Patek's fate, and the secrecy surrounding it, is causing a diplomatic dispute not only between Indonesia and Pakistan, but also between Pakistan and Australia—where tensions are high after Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd leaked to the press information about the Patek arrest over the protests of senior Pakistani leaders.
Australia was hit disproportionately hard in the Bali attacks—88 of the 202 that died were Aussie—and, as a result, it has been passionately committed to seeing the responsible parties brought to justice.
Pakistani intelligence leaders claim that Rudd's actions could have caused "subsequent leads…[to] go dead" and ultimately could have disrupted the U.S. strike mission against bin Laden.