Mon, Jul 09, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Australia warns of `imminent' terrorist attacks in Indonesia

AFP , SYDNEY

Australia yesterday warned terrorist attacks may be imminent in Indonesia, including Bali, the scene of two fatal bombings in 2002 and 2005.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade upgraded its official travel advisory on Indonesia to warn that it had reports terrorists were planning attacks against Western interests.

"There have been recent arrests of high level terrorist operatives in Indonesia, but we assess terrorists are continuing active planning of attacks," the advisory said.

"These attacks could take place at any time and could be imminent. Particular care should be taken at this time to avoid known terrorist targets," it said.

It said previous attacks against Westerners in Indonesia indicated Bali and Jakarta were priority targets but added "terrorist attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in Indonesia."

Australia has advised its citizens to reconsider travel to Indonesia since the first Bali bombing in October 2002, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, but yesterday's upgrade adds the warning of imminent attacks.

It came after the head of Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Zarkasi, and the leader of its military wing, Abu Dujana, were arrested by Indonesian police last month along with six other suspected militants.

While the arrests were seen as a major blow to JI, an unnamed member of the organization told the Al-Jazeera TV channel last month that the lack of leadership could make it more dangerous.

"The situation could become more dangerous now because some members will be getting impatient without clear instructions from the top," he said in translated comments.

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