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Indonesia Warned of Further Terror Attacks - 2004-09-13


The United States and Australia have warned that terrorists might be planning another attack in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. The new warning is much more specific than previous alerts.

Australian Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, who visited Jakarta just after the bombing, said Monday that people should avoid a specific apartment complex in south Jakarta that is close to the bombed embassy.

Australia has said a second terror cell belonging to the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, or J.I., could still be active, and Western diplomats in Jakarta say they believe another attack in the near future is a strong possibility.

Almost all embassies have updated their travel warnings, telling their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Indonesia. They have told those already in the country to avoid places where foreigners are known to congregate.

The embassy bombing was the third attack against a "foreign" target in two years, and most foreign residents of Indonesia are now used to living in an uncertain security environment. Few people have left the country, but security companies have reported a marked rise in requests for their services.

Martin Hughes of security consultants Control Risks Group says foreign residents are more nervous than after J.I.'s last car bombing, the attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel 13 months ago. He believes people had become complacent.

"I have a feeling that people are possibly more nervous than they were at the JWM time," says Mr. Hughes. "I think part of its due to the fact that people were assuming that the back of J.I. was broken, and that J.I. was on the run."

The Marriott was thought to have been selected as a target because it is managed by an American hotel chain. In October of 2002, a nightclub area frequented by foreign tourists on the resort island of Bali was bombed, killing 202 people.

The investigation into the latest bombing is moving forward, with police having identified the chassis number of the vehicle used to deliver the bomb.

A similar identification number provided the first big break in the investigation into the Bali bombing. It allowed police to identify the vehicle's buyer as a man named Amrozi, and he eventually led the police to the rest of the gang.

Police say similarities between Thursday's bombing and the Bali attack lead them to believe that both were carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah. They are working on the theory that the Bali bomb-maker, an English-trained engineer from Malaysia named Azahari Husin, also made last week's embassy bomb.