Bali police on highest terror alert

Indonesia has increased security for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays. EPA/MADE NAGI

Indonesia has increased security for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays. EPA/MADE NAGI

Bali police have activated the highest alert level for the Christmas and New Year period, as counter-terrorism forces investigate a network that was planning to bomb festivities.

Indonesia’s national police, military and local authorities on Wednesday began their annual “Operasi Lilin” (Operation Candlelight), although this year’s effort opens days after officers foiled a plot to bomb targets, reportedly including New Year celebrations.

Police Chief Badrodin Haiti told a ceremony in Jakarta that Indonesia couldn’t afford to ignore the attacks abroad this year.

‘Through 2015, there were several public security and order disturbances,’ he said.

‘Whether it be abroad – like the suicide bombing of a Bangkok temple, the attack on the people of Paris – or domestically, like it or not, these must come to our attention.’

In Bali, Provincial Police Chief Sugeng Priyanto opened “Operasi Lilin Agung” (Operation Great Candlelight), putting his officers on the highest alert in anticipation of an emergency.

‘We have imposed first alert. There’s been an order from Indonesian National Police Headquarters for first alert,’ he said.

‘Bali is an international tourist destination and so it’s natural that Bali is the first priority for security.’

Nine people detained after terror raids on five cities at the weekend – sparked by intelligence from Australia, the US and Singapore – are still being interrogated.

Police have revealed their base was Solo, Central Java, and that their leaders remain at large.

They were also planning to attack President Joko Widodo, public buildings, police and officials.

They had in their possession an ISIS-style flag, bomb-making materials and a map of greater Jakarta.

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