Australia warned that it obtained information about potential terrorist attacks targeting Indonesia and asked its diplomats to not attend a scheduled Thursday event in Surabaya, the second largest Indonesian city where suicide bombings occurred three months ago.
“We continue to receive information indicating terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia,” Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in an advisory posted on its Smarttraveller website on Wednesday.
“Due to heightened security concerns, staff at the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya will not be attending an event at the Airlangga University in Surabaya on 23 August. Australian officials in Surabaya are currently adopting enhanced security measures and limiting their movements,” the message said.
On Thursday, the American embassy in Jakarta followed up with its own alert about a security threat at Airlangga University. The embassy cited media reports indicating the potential threat of terrorist attacks in Surabaya and other parts of Indonesia, “including the potential targeting of Western interests at Airlangga.”
“Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya is closing its American Corner at Airlangga University on August 23,” the embassy said in an advisory posted on its website.
A security analyst at the Indonesian Center for Radicalism and Deradicalism Studies (PAKAR), Adhe Bhakti, said the threat emerged in online chatter among supporters of the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
“There was some kind of a call to conduct amaliah (code for a terror attack) in Surabaya with Australian officials who were scheduled to attend an event at a university there,” Adhe told BenarNews, without giving details.
The Reuters news agency, citing two security sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported that Australia’s elevated security measures were linked to a posting circulating on social media that called on Indonesians in Surabaya and surrounding East Java province to harm Australian officials.
Earlier this month, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop opened Australia’s first consulate-general in Surabaya.
Full story: BenarNews
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