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Indonesia on heightened alert JAKARTA - Indonesia has heightened security nationwide amid fresh threats of terror attacks on key economic infrastructures following the Bali bombing tragedy, police have said. The increased security alert comes as intelligence reports point to further terrorist activity after the October 12 night of horror in Bali where more than 180 people were killed.
There are also fears the arrest of a radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is undergoing medical treatment in hospital, could fuel a strong backlash in the world's largest Muslim population. "Our intelligence has indicated there is a possibility of attacks. The police have mobilised armed personnel to guard electricity, water, airport and other key economic infrastrutures," police spokesman Brigadier General Edward Aritonang told AFP.
"We have upgraded security status to alert. We are prepared to handle any eventualities." Bashir, 64, has not been named as a suspect in the Bali bombing, but is wanted for questioning over a series of church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000. Aritonang said the general security situation in Indonesia was under control but the Bali bombing had created security fears, especially among foreigners.
Australia yesterday issued its fourth travel warning on Indonesia in three days, telling visitors to avoid historical and cultural locations for fear of terrorist attacks. Australians have been told to defer all non-essential travel within Indonesia and to avoid commercial and public places frequented by Westerners, including schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas.
In hazy Jakarta, where police have been plagued by false threats, spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam said every telephone call was relentlessly checked. "We have increased security guards at commercial centres, vital installations, transportation terminals and places of high public concentrations," he said. "We have and will check every bomb threat made. We will deploy our anti-bomb squads to comb the concerned buildings for explosives."
In recent days the Jakarta Stock Exchange building and several schools received bomb threats which turned out to be false alarms, Alam said. Police have deployed 120 additional personnel at Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta international airport, and armed policemen are conducting patrols within the airport complex, a security official.
At Medan, on Sumatra island, traffic came to a standstill on the road to the local airport yesterday after police received a call saying there was a car laden with explosives on the route. Radio reports said all vehicles and their occupants had to undergo a strict police search, but no explosives were found. The state Antara news agency said today that security had been tightened at the Hang Nadim airport on Indonesia's Batam island, a popular retreat for residents of nearby Singapore.
Vehicles heading into the airport facility must pass through bomb detectors, with all passengers and cars subjected to stringent police checks, it said. Hotels and entertainment spots in Batam had deployed additional plain-clothed and uniformed security personnel. Anonymous bomb threats have also surged in Malang, East Java with the provincial parliament building and a primary school among the named targets.
Aritonang appealed to the public to remain calm and urged them to report any suspicious activity or vehicles. "We need public cooperation to fight this wave of terror. This is a national problem. There is no need to panic. We will put an end to this nightmare," he said.



Posted in Terrorism @ 21 October 2002 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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