Threat of terrorist attacks during Christmas holidays is high in Indonesia

The threat of terrorist attacks targeting Westerners over the Christmas and New Year holidays is high, the U.S. embassy said Thursday, warning of possible kidnappings, shootings or suicide bombings. Maps and explosives obtained in a police raid on a terrorist's hideout last month indicated the al-Qaida-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah was in the advanced stages of planning attacks, the embassy said in an e-mailed message to citizens.

Indonesian authorities also warned recently that Islamic extremists may be planning to kidnap foreigners over the holidays, and a recently discovered Web site provided step-by-step instructions on how to gun down Westerners in the streets of Jakarta.

"The embassy reminds Americans that in recent years terrorist attacks have occurred in Indonesia during the Christmas and New Year's holiday season," the embassy said, calling on citizens to remain vigilant and to vary the routes and times of their daily activities.

"The possibility of terrorist attacks appears even higher this year," the embassy said. The world's most populous Muslim nation has been hit by five suicide bombings targeting Western interests since 2002, the most recent on the resort island of Bali three months ago. In all, 242 people have been killed, many of them foreigners.

Indonesian authorities have warned repeatedly that fresh strikes were being planned, saying maps and dozens of bombs were discovered in the hideout of Azhari bin Husin, who was killed in a Nov. 9 police raid. They also found a videotape of a hooded terrorist who threatened to attack Americans, Australians, Italians and British citizens, reports the AP. I.L.

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