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Australia Issues Terror Warning for Indonesia - 2002-10-19

Australia has issued a new warning to its citizens in Indonesia, that specific bomb threats have been made against westerners in Jakarta. The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, says his government has received intelligence that some suburbs in the Indonesian capital could be bombed and he is advising Australians to think carefully about leaving.

Mr. Downer says he believes Australians will be in real danger if they remain in Jakarta. He told Australian radio on Saturday, "It is very important that we draw people's attention to the risk."

This new warning follows a government advisory issued on Thursday which urged Australians to leave Indonesia as soon as possible. The warning stated that Australia now considers the entire Southeast Asia region to be unsafe for its people.

Foreign Minister Downer has not elaborated on who could responsible for making these threats, but suspicion will fall on the radical Muslim group, Jemaah Islamiah, which is based in Indonesia and has suspected links to the al-Qaida network.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said he suspects the militant organization of playing a part in the Bali bombing.

The government has dismissed suggestions by a powerful religious leader in Australia that the bombing was payback for the country's support for the United States' position on Iraq.

Dr. Peter Carnley, an Anglican bishop, said given the government's stance, it was only a matter of time before Australian lives were sacrificed in some form of retaliatory action.

The United States ambassador to Australia, Tom Schieffer, also rejected the suggestion Australia is paying the price for supporting the U.S. led war on terror. "I really don't think it is a risk because of what Australia has done regarding the United States, as much as it is a risk for what Australia believes in, and I think that the values that are represented by most Australians and by most Americans are very similar, and I think that those values are the ones that are really under attack," he said.

Meanwhile, the body of a 19-year-old victim of last Saturday's blast has arrived back in Adelaide, in South Australia. The remains of Angela Golotta are the first to be repatriated from Bali. It has been a tragic homecoming. The young woman was to have celebrated her 20th birthday two days ago.

An Indonesian victim of the bomb attack has died from severe burns shortly after arriving in the northern city of Darwin, where he had been taken for treatment. Two other Indonesians have been airlifted to the Royal Perth Hospital, after an emergency evacuation Friday night.