Southeast Asia on Christmas alert after foiled bomb plots

By REUTERS
December 23, 2016 09:23

JAKARTA/BANGKOK - Southeast Asian security forces were on alert on Friday ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays after two bomb plots were foiled in Australia and Indonesia and the arrest of suspected militants in Malaysia.

Australian police said on Friday they had prevented attacks on prominent sites in Melbourne on Christmas Day that authorities described as "an imminent terrorist event" inspired by ISIS.

The announcement came after an attack in Berlin in which a Tunisian suspect smashed through a Christmas market in a truck on Monday, killing 12 people.

In Indonesia, where Islamic State's first attack in Southeast Asia killed four people in Jakarta in January, at least 14 people were being interrogated over suspected suicide bomb plots targeting the presidential palace in Jakarta and another undisclosed location, police said.

Anti-terrorism police killed three suspects in a gunfight on Wednesday on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, would deploy 85,000 police and 15,000 military staff for the Christmas and New Year period, police said.


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