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Asian Governments Condemn Indonesia Bombing - 2004-09-09

Following a deadly bombing in Indonesia, governments throughout Asia and the Pacific condemned the attacks and braced themselves for a fresh round of terrorist threats. In Canberra, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, said the bombing was "clearly a terrorist attack" meant for Australia.

After the blast, the Thai government beefed up security around the Australian embassy in Bangkok.

The Philippines quickly denounced the bombing and ordered its embassy staff in Jakarta to make sure no Philippine nationals were injured.

Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Gilberto Asuque.

"This incident will only strengthen the Philippine's commitment and determination to fight all forms of terrorism," he said.

The military and police forces in Manila were placed on high alert and bomb-sniffing dogs were on hand outside several Western embassies.

In the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, security officials say the bombing may have been orchestrated by a Malaysian fugitive, Azahari Husin.

Security officials say he is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida linked terror group responsible for the deadly 2002 bomb attacks in Bali.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark said she was appalled by the bombings and urged New Zealanders in Indonesia to exercise extreme caution.

Security experts familiar with the region say the threat of further attacks remains high. Richard Weaver, president of the risk management firm Armorgroup, says it will become increasingly difficult to predict future targets.

"The harder the traditional targets get - the traditional targets being military, the government buildings, those things - the harder we make them to attack, they will go to the softer targets, businesses and other institutions, schools, hospitals," said Richard Weaver.

Several Western governments, including Australia and the United States, have warned their citizens in recent weeks of an increased risk of attack in Indonesia. In particular, they had warned that Western-owned hotels and places where foreigners often gather, such as shopping malls and popular restaurants, might be targets.