Australia issues new Bali warning
Seminyak area named in uncorroborated reports
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Australia has issued a fresh travel warning for Bali and cited "uncorroborated information" that names the tourist area of Seminyak as a potential target for terrorist attacks.
The warning was issued late on Monday night by the Australian foreign ministry.
Seminyak is a popular nightclub and shopping area near Bali's main city of Denpasar, north of the Kuta and Jimbaran Bay areas that were the targets for suicide bomb attacks on Saturday night, October 1, that killed 19 people and wounded more than 130 others.
"The possibility of further explosions cannot be ruled out," the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in its travel advisory. It noted there had been reports of both "general and specific" bomb threats and anonymous tip-offs since the October 1 bombings.
"While this information cannot be corroborated, Australians should be aware that the Seminyak area in Bali has been mentioned as a potential target for terrorist attacks. Nightclubs popular with westerners in Seminyak are possible targets," it said.
Bali has been a popular tourism destination for decades -- particularly for Australians, with more than 200,000 making the trip last year. At least two Australians died in the October 1 blasts and two others are missing, presumed dead, while 88 Australians were among the 202 victims of the Kuta nightclub bombings on Bali in October 2002.
The latest Bali attacks prompted Jakarta's police chief, Inspector General Firman Gani, to raise the security alert system to its highest level (Full story).
More than 30 Australian Federal Police are in Bali helping Indonesian counterparts with their investigations.
After the Saturday blasts, Australian Prime Minister John Howard sent medical evacuation flights to Bali and offered President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono his support.
But Howard has also stepped up his call for Indonesia to ban Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the militant organization widely believed to be the regional arm of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist organization.
Regional political leaders and terrorism experts have almost unanimously described the latest Bali attacks as bearing the hallmarks of JI.
JI is not designated as a terrorist organization in Indonesia, where it remains legal to be a member of the group (Full story).
Howard said on Monday that Australia would further pursue the banning of JI by Indonesia.
"The time to do that is in the immediate future -- not right now. But we will pursue the issue further," he told reporters in Sydney.
JI is thought to be behind the 2002 Bali bombings and two other deadly attacks: a suicide truck bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta in September 2004 that left 10 people dead; and a suicide bomb attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003 in which 12 people died.
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