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Asia-pacific

Bali governor denies issuing New Year terror attack warning

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-31

The US Embassy in Bali has reported that it received a warning from the island's governor about a terrorist threat during the New Year celebrations, but the governor's office has denied making any such comment.

AFP - The US embassy in Indonesia said on Thursday it had received warning of a New Year terrorist attack on the resort island of  Bali, the scene of multiple bombings targeting Westerners.
   
"There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight," it said in a statement to US citizens carried on its website, quoting a message from Bali governor Mangku Pastika.
   
The embassy said the Bali Tourism Board had widely distributed the governor's message, which added: "Please don't panic, but put your security system to full alert."
   
Police said 7,000 security personnel including US-trained counter-terrorism units were being deployed around bars and nightclubs on Bali as the island prepared to celebrate the New Year.
   
The embassy said its standard security recommendations "remain valid".
   
Indonesia has been targeted by "violent elements" repeatedly since the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists including 88 Australians, the US embassy advice says.
   
It urges citizens to keep a "low profile" and be "vigilant and prudent at all times".
   
"US citizens must consider the security and safety preparedness of hotels, residences, restaurants, and entertainment or recreation venues that they frequent," it says.
   
The governor was not immediately available to comment but Bali police spokesman Gede Sugianyar told AFP there was "no indication of an attack on Bali tonight".
   
"We have deployed police personnel at malls, restaurants, airport, ports, Kuta beach and other public places so that New Year celebrations will take place peacefully and without problems," he said.
   
Islamists from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network carried out the bombings at crowded nightspots in Kuta, Bali's main tourist strip on October 12, 2002.
   
Almost three years after the first Bali attack, three suicide bombers detonated explosives at tourist restaurants on the island, killing 20.
   
Malaysian-born extremist Noordin Mohammed Top allegedly masterminded the second attack and a series of subsequent assaults on Western targets in Indonesia including the Australian embassy.
   
In July, seven people were killed, six of them foreigners, and more than 40 injured when two suicide bombers acting on Noordin's orders targeted the luxury Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta.
   
Noordin was tracked down and killed in a police raid on a militant hideout in Central Java on September 17, but police have warned his followers are regrouping and new terror cells are being formed.
   
Three of the masterminds of the 2002 attacks -- Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra -- were executed in November 2008.

 

Date created : 2009-12-31

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