Saturday, December 4, 2010

Indonesia on alert after bomb finds

Alert raised for attacks during Christmas and New Year period

JAKARTA: Indonesia has gone on alert for terror attacks during the Christmas and New Year period after police found and defused several homemade bombs in Central Java on Wednesday. The revelation yesterday coincided with the discovery of a cache of explosives in a warehouse in North Jakarta.

National Police alert has been raised across the country, particularly in areas like Bali, Java and Sumatra, which have been targets in the past. It came after police found bombs in three separate places this week - on the roadside in front of a Christian chapel, an Islamic hospital and a police post in Kendal, Central Java. Each bomb was made up of four or five petrol-filled 600ml plastic bottles hooked up to a timer, a detonator and a battery. A police source told The Straits Times that one of them was supposed to explode at 2am, but failed to go off.

Ever since a series of coordinated bombings of churches on Christmas Eve in Jakarta and eight other cities killed 19 people in 2000, the authorities have ramped up security near Christmas time, stepping up patrols. Wednesday's discovery of the bombs was made during regular patrols. Yesterday, police found more explosives while raiding a warehouse in Koja, North Jakarta, to look for a drug suspect. According to local media, they found six blocks of TNT explosives, four electric detonators and a 3m-long explosive fuse in the warehouse operated by a firm in the shipping industry.

Indonesia has been going all out in the battle against terrorism, after a spate of high-profile bombings by militants from within the country, while stepped-up cooperation between countries in the region has helped it to track down terror suspects crossing national borders. Last month, an Indonesian terrorist who had helped raise money to fund the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta was arrested in Malaysia. Extract from a Singapore Straits Times report.

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