Indonesia on Alert for Terrorist Strikes During Holidays

JAKARTA, Indonesia, DEC. 21, 2003 ( Reports that Islamic terrorists have reorganized have triggered a security alert in Indonesia for the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

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Jakarta’s Police Chief Inspector Makbul Padmanagara said terrorist attacks would pose the greatest threat to the capital during the upcoming holiday period, AsiaNews reported.

Police plan to deploy around 12,200 officers, more than half their force, to guard the capital from Christmas Eve until Jan. 7.

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. government today also issued a warning about possible terrorist attacks during the holidays.

In Jakarta, a police spokesman said that churches would be reinforced with private security guards. The Catholic cathedral in the heart of Jakarta will top the priority list for extra security, police said.

In Jakarta and the surrounding areas of Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi there are more than 640 churches. Police will also increase security in shopping, recreational and entertainment centers, hotels, and all venues open to the public.

Police authorities reported that the two most wanted bomb experts, a Dr. Azahari and Noordin M. Top, were still at large and might be preparing new strikes. Both are key suspects in the bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in South Jakarta on Aug. 5.

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