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Airport security tightened amid new terror threats JAKARTA - The authorities have tightened security at airports and other key facilities across the country following renewed threats of terror attacks in the wake of the Bali bombing tragedy, police said on Monday. More than 100 additional police officers, some of them plain-clothed personnel, were deployed at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near Jakarta to tighten security there, said airport police chief Insp. Sri Suari. The police are conducting patrols within the airport complex located in Tangerang, Banten province.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Sri said that security had been beefed up since Sunday and involved members of the elite Mobile Brigade (Brimob). "Following the Bali incident, there is a need for the presence of more police officers to guarantee the safety of passengers at the airport. We don't know when we will withdraw them," Sri said. The increased security alert followed intelligence reports pointing to further terrorist activity after the Oct. 12 night of horror in Bali in which more than 184 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.
There are also fears that the arrest of terrorist suspect Abu Bakar Ba'asyir could fuel a strong backlash from followers and other radical elements opposed to his detention. "Our intelligence has indicated there is a possibility of further attacks. The police have mobilized armed personnel to guard electricity and water installations, airports and other key facilities," said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Edward Aritonang.
"We have upgraded our security status to alert and are prepared to handle any eventuality," he told AFP. Security was also tightened at Polonia Airport in the North Sumatran capital of Medan where scores of Brimob personnel were on guard since Sunday. They also conducted a thorough police search on passengers and visitors arriving at the airport gates.
On Sunday, traffic was crippled on the road to Polonia Airport after police received a phone call saying there was a car loaded with explosives on the route. The threat turned out to be a hoax. Subagio, head of the state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura in Polonia, confirmed that no bombs were found in the search conducted on motorists.
He said the police would continue to search vehicles for the next few days. The Antara news agency said on Monday that security had also been tightened at Hang Nadim Airport on Riau's Batam island, a popular tourist retreat for residents of nearby Singapore. Vehicles heading into the airport facility had to pass through bomb detectors, with all passengers and cars subjected to stringent police checks, it said.
Even though the strict search regimen caused a traffic jam at the airport main gate, flights there were reported as taking off and landing on schedule. Hotels and entertainment spots in Batam have deployed additional plain-clothed and uniformed security personnel to counter possible bomb threats. Lampung Police chief Brig. Gen. Sugiri said his personnel were conducting aggressive patrols at numerous vital installations across the province, including the local airport, the Bakauheni ferry port and the Panjang container harbor.
Also under tightened security were legislative buildings, government offices, places of worship and bus terminals and markets, he added. Sugiri said he was deploying 6,000 police personnel to maintain order and security in Lampung.
At Bakauheni port, he said, there were some 100 policemen assisted by a number of police dogs on guard. "This number may be increased at any time during an emergency situation. The point is that all personnel are prepared and I will come onto the field if necessary," Sugiri said. Anonymous bomb threats have surged in several cities across Indonesia with key public and economic facilities targeted.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Anton Bahrul Alam said the authorities had investigated every phone call thoroughly despite the fact that many calls they received turned out to be hoaxes. Among the buildings that received bomb threats were the Jakarta Stock Exchange building and several schools. In the East Java city of Malang, the local legislative building and a school also received similar threats and these also turned out to be hoaxes.



Posted in Terrorism @ 22 October 2002 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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