U.S. Warns of New Year’s Eve Attack on Bali
December 31, 2009
(ChattahBox)—With New Year’s festivities about to begin around the world, a new terror alert was issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia warning U.S. citizens of a possible terrorist “attack to Bali tonight.” The chilling warning was delivered in an embassy email and quoted the governor of Bali. However, other government officials pushed back against the warning saying that they hadn’t received an official notification of a threat.
An embassy email sent to U.S. citizens in the region quoted Gov. Mangku Pastika of Bali saying, “There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight.” The email further added that Gov. Pastika called on people not to panic but to be alert, and gave no details about a specific threat, the embassy statement said.
Embassy spokeswoman Corina Sanders said the warning had been sent to area restaurants and other entertainment venues by the Bali Tourism Board. But the tourism board denied issuing a warning of a terror attack, although acknowledged receiving one. Sanders added that the terror alert was issued by Bali’s governor and that the warning was delivered verbatim, because of its importance.
Indonesia’s counterterrorism unit said it had received the warning, but could not verify its accuracy and was looking into it.
Regardless of the source of the warning, the U.S. Embassy believed it credible enough to alert U.S. citizens. Bali is a popular vacation destination and the country has been besieged with terror attacks against Westerners. Just six-months ago, al-Qaida claimed responsibility for deadly suicide bombings at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels in Jakarta, which killed seven people and injured dozens of others.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim-majority in the world and is subjected to rampant terrorism by Islamic militants who purposely target venues, like cafes and hotels where Westerners congregate.
The embassy said U.S. citizens should carefully monitor local media and be aware of possible threats.