Gillard unfazed by Bali terror threat

2012-10-11 11:01
Indonesian police stand guard in front of the memorial site on the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings, in which 202 people died. (Sonny Tumbelaka, AFP)

Indonesian police stand guard in front of the memorial site on the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings, in which 202 people died. (Sonny Tumbelaka, AFP)

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Sydney - Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Thursday said the 2002 Bali bombing anniversary was a significant moment for Australia as she reiterated her intention to attend despite a possible terror threat.

Indonesia on Wednesday declared its top security alert, citing "credible information" of a threat to a ceremony on Friday marking the 10th anniversary of the atrocity which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

"For all the obvious commonsense reasons we don't comment on security matters or security arrangements. But I am intending to go to Bali. I want to be in Bali," she said.

Gillard is due to give an address to commemorate the Australians who were among the victims of the strike against the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar in the Indonesian tourist island's nightlife strip of Kuta.

"This is a moment of real significance for our nation. Ten years ago I think we would all remember where we were and how we felt, how shocked we were," said the prime minister.

"I want to spend some time with the families who have really had to absorb such grief.

'It's what took us to Afghanistan'

"But also for the nation, speak about the journey over the 10 years since, and everything that we've done to counter the threat of terrorism in Australia and beyond our shores."

Gillard, who jets out later on Thursday, was keen to point out the progress Australia had made in the war against terrorism following the attacks.

"It's what took us to Afghanistan, and of course we are still there making sure Afghanistan doesn't become a safe haven again for the training of terrorists who take Australian lives," she said.

John Howard, who was prime minister when the bombs went off, will also attend the ceremony, saying he was not troubled by the terror threat.

"I'm sure the Indonesian authorities are doing everything that can be done in circumstances such as this," he told ABC radio, adding that he believed few relatives of those killed or injured would be put off.

"I don't think it would dissuade any of them. Those who want to go, many of them are already there," he said.

Many survivors and the families of victims have travelled to Bali for the commemorations of the bombings, carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Indonesia has deployed about 1 000 security personnel including snipers, heavily armed police commandos and intelligence agents to ensure the anniversary passes peacefully.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia  |  indonesia  |  security
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