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Bali on high alert after tip-off on attack

Publication Date : 11-10-2012

 

Bali was placed on its highest alert after police received a tip-off of a planned attack during the 10-year commemoration ceremonies tomorrow of the island's first terrorist blasts.

"It is a Class A1 threat, indicating the high possibility of an attack," said Bali police chief Budi Gunawan.

The alert came in yesterday morning after police said they had credible information that suggest VIPs were being targeted.

Security on the island had been stepped up weeks ahead of the major ceremonies, to be attended by 3,000 victims and families, mostly from Australia, as well as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former leader John Howard.

Ten years ago, in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Indonesian soil, suicide bombers from Jemaah Islamiah (JI) - a group linked to Al-Qaeda - killed 202 people in and around two nightclubs on the island.

Families of the victims have started streaming in for the ceremonies, one of which will be held at a park in Jimbaran, and another at the location of the blast in Kuta.

Police are enforcing 24-hour surveillance on all entry points to the island, including its seaports and airport, and smaller harbours.

It has stepped up roadblocks, and told residents to be alert.

Some 1,000 intelligence personnel and snipers are being deployed for the VIPs, in addition to 1,200 policemen.

"We are ready for threats like this, and we will hunt those involved.

"We are confident that the ceremonies will go smoothly," Bali deputy police chief Ketut Untung Yoga told reporters.

Last week, radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, known as JI's spiritual leader, was transferred to the country's high-security island prison in Central Java, apparently as a precautionary measure before the Bali blast anniversary.

Indonesia earned international praise for its clampdown on terrorists after a spate of other bombings, including on two luxury hotels and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

The JI is crippled, with 700 of its members killed or jailed.

The main Bali bombers were executed by firing squad in 2008.

There has not been a major terrorist attack in the country since 2009.

Terrorists, now part of loose groupings or acting alone, have switched to local targets like the police.

Last month, some 20 terrorists were shot or arrested in Solo and on the outskirts of Jakarta.

 

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