Sun, Mar 13, 2005 - Page 5 News List

US warns of attack on Indonesian mall

AP , JAKARTA, INDONESIA

Bomb squad officers searched yesterday for explosives in a Jakarta shopping mall known as the World Trade Center, but the complex -- the focus of a US terror alert -- remained open and was preparing for a busy day.

On Friday, the US Embassy warned its citizens to stay away from the mall in the north of the Indonesian capital because of a "possible bomb threat" over the next three days. It gave no more details. The Australian government released a similar warning yesterday.

Bomb squad officers searched public spaces in the complex, and 100 extra plainclothes officers were deployed at the facility, mall security officers said.

Like other public buildings in Jakarta, security at the World Trade Center was already tight. Cars and customers are routinely checked for explosives or weapons.

Most traders said they were unconcerned.

"Bomb threats are normal these days," said clothing vendor Herawati Wijaya, adding that mall management had yet to inform her of the warning. "Still, I will check because this could threaten the safety of our customers."

Early yesterday, customers were trickling into the complex.

The 12-story mall, which sells mostly cheap clothes and electronics, is usually crowded on weekends, although it is well outside the downtown district, and is not especially popular with foreigners.

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