Jakarta on increased terrorist alert for Christmas

Bomb squads searched for explosives at churches in Jakarta and the capital's satellite cities hours before Christmas Eve celebrations amid fears that terrorists might carry out attacks to deliberately mar the holiday. Police Lt. Sulianto, who uses only one name, told The Associated Press that 80 bomb squads will be deployed at dozens of churches in Jakarta, Bekasi, Tangerang and Depok. Some 17,000 police have been deployed to guard Jakarta, where terrorists "could carry out [attacks] tonight," Maj.-Gen. Firman Gani, the Jakarta Police Chief told reporters. Gani has warned terrorists will use Christmas and New Year celebrations to carry out attacks. The Southeast Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah have been blamed for at least five suicide bombings targeting Western interests since 2002 - including October 1 restaurant attacks on Bali island - that together killed more than 240 people. It is also accused in Christmas Eve church bombings five years ago that left 19 dead.