Indonesia marks Bali bombings anniversary

Schoolchildren lighting candles at a memorial service for victims of the 2002 Bali bombings, in Bali on Oct 12, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

DENPASAR (AFP) - Dozens of mourners on Saturday (Oct 12) commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people on the Indonesian resort island, as Islamic militant attacks continue to plague the country.

Grieving families and representatives from several embassies laid flowers and lit incense sticks at a memorial in the popular tourist hub Kuta, where radical Islamists detonated bombs in 2002.

A candlelight vigil was also being held to mark the country's deadliest terror attack and remember the 202 victims - mostly foreign holidaymakers from more than 21 countries.

Local militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was blamed for the bombings, which took place at two popular night spots, which accounted for all the victims, and the US consulate.

Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with Islamist militancy and on Friday President Joko Widodo ordered beefed-up security measures to help prevent further attacks.

The intervention followed Thursday's assassination attempt on chief security minister Wiranto, a 72-year-old former army chief, by two militants from an Islamic State of Iraq and Styria (ISIS)-linked group.

Last year suicide bombers from the same ISIS-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) detonated explosives in three churches in the country's second largest city Surabaya, killing more than a dozen people.

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