ONE of the two bomb-makers behind the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks was believed to have been killed yesterday in a targeted air strike after spies tracked him to a meeting with terrorists from the southern Philippines-based militant group Abu Sayyaf, the Philippines military said last night.
Philippines officials said they were confident that Dulmatin, one of the most wanted men in Southeast Asia, was at a meeting bombed by fighter jets and attack helicopters in an Islamic stronghold 900km south of Manila.
The meeting was being held in a marshland hut in Mindanao Province, a notorious heartland of Islamic rebels.
Two bomber aircraft dropped 100kg bombs and attack helicopters followed up with six rockets.
"We had six targets, and they were all hit in the bombing runs," said the Philippine military's Southern Command chief, Colonel Domingo Tutaan.
Dulmatin's assassination would be the biggest breakthrough in the hunt for the remaining Bali bombers in the past two years.
Like his mentor Dr Azahari, who remains on the run in Java, Dulmatin is Afghanistan-trained and one of the few JI militants able to assemble and explode large chlorate and nitrate bombs.
Police allege he was the man who mixed and assembled the 500kg bomb that destroyed the Sari Club, claiming most of the 202 lives lost during the Bali blasts of October 2002.