Tue, Jul 10, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Indonesians downplay terror warning

AFP , JAKARTA

Indonesia's police were on normal alert yesterday despite a warning issued by Australia on Sunday that a terrorist attack may be imminent in the archipelago nation.

Australia's foreign affairs department warned its citizens in an upgraded travel advisory to stay away from Indonesia because of fears an attack may be launched.

National police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto said that the Indonesian police had their own assessment of the situation and would not change their position merely because of a warning issued by another country.

"So far the situation in Indonesia is calm as usual," he said.

"We do not act based on orders or intervention from other countries," he said.

The Australian advisory warned that attacks "could occur any time, anywhere in Indonesia."

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that advisories were only issued on strong intelligence.

"All terrorist threats are serious and the problem is if you don't warn of them and something happens you are legitimately criticized," he said in a TV interview.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the travel warning was not based on information about a specific attack.

A total of 92 Australian holidaymakers were killed in two bomb attacks on Bali in 2002 and 2005.

The recent arrest of high ranking operatives in the Islamic extremist group blamed for the two bombings, Jemaah Islamiah, was a reminder of the ongoing threat, Downer said.

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