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U.S. warns of possible terrorist attacks in Indonesia JAKARTA - Americans and other Westerners in Indonesia should remain alert to the possibility of militant attacks over the Christmas and New Year period, the U.S. embassy in Jakarta said on Monday. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has in recent years been hit by a series of bomb blasts blamed on Islamic militants.

"The U.S. Embassy reminds Americans in Indonesia of the continued serious security threat to Americans and other Westerners in Indonesia," it said in a statement e-mailed to Americans in Indonesia.

Most attacks against Western targets have taken place in the capital Jakarta and on the resort island of Bali. "Terrorist attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against any location, including those frequented by foreigners and identifiably American or other Western facilities or businesses," the embassy said.

More than 190 militants have been convicted in connection with violent attacks and five sentenced to death, the head of the country's counter-terrorism desk said earlier this month. Around 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim. The vast majority are moderates but there is an active militant minority.

Indonesia has been relatively calm in recent months and there has not been a major attack since a second set of suicide attacks in Bali in October, 2005. But security analysts say the threat of militant attacks is still high because police have yet to catch one of the alleged masterminds of previous bombings, Malaysian-born Noordin Top.

Police last year killed Azahari Husin, an alleged leader of the Jemaah Islamiah regional network in a shootout in East Java province. National police chief General Sutanto said security forces were on higher alert over the year-end period, particularly with Top still on the run.

"Security personnel and members of the public should increase alertness and security measures, just like last year when inter-religious groups provided security for Christmas and New Year celebrations," he told reporters. Indonesia also saw bomb attacks on Christian churches on Christmas eve in 2000.



Posted in Terrorism @ 19 December 2006 05:19 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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