Bali on high alert on eve of bombing anniversary

JAKARTA - Bali was placed on its highest alert after police received a tip-off of a planned attack on a commemoration ceremony tomorrow marking 10 years of the island’s first terrorist blasts.

“It is a class A1 threat, indicating the high possibility of an attack,” said Bali police Chief Major General Budi Gunawan.

Police said it is based on “credible information” that suggests VIPs are being targeted.

Security on the island has been stepped up weeks ahead of the ceremony, to be attended by 3,000 victims and families, mostly from Australia, as well as Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and former premier John Howard.

Ten years ago, in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Indonesian soil, suicide bombers from an Al-Qaeda linked group - Jemaah Islamiah - killed 202 people in two nightclubs on the island.

Police have enforced a 24-hour surveillance on all entry points to the island, including its two seaports and airport, and smaller harbours. It has stepped up roadblocks and told residents to be on alert.

In addition, 1,000 intelligence personnel and snipers are being deployed to protect the VIPs.

Despite the threat, Prime Minister Gillard says she will be attending to show her support for the victims.

zubaidah@sph.com.sg