Indonesia holds Islamists in US missions attack plot

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“The group’s objectives were to attack the U.S. embassy in Jakarta and consulate-general in the eastern Javanese city of Surabaya,” national police spokesman Suhardi Alius told reporters.

Indonesia has waged a long battle against terrorism since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. The resort island held commemorations this month to mark 10 years since the attack.

Indonesia has not seen a major attack since 2009, when suicide bombers killed nine people in attacks on two five-star hotels in the capital.

Alius said that those arrested Saturday were “suspected terrorists” who were “part of a new network known as HASMI.”

Previous deadly attacks, including the Bali bombings, have been blamed on the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), but authorities say the group has been severely weakened by its crackdown on terrorism.

However, smaller Islamist groups seeking to create an Islamist caliphate through violent means have emerged.

Anti-terror police made Saturday’s arrests in four cities across Java: four in Jakarta, two in Madiun, three in Solo and two in Bogor.

Explosive materials were found in Solo and in Bogor, which is on the outskirts of the capital.

“We also confiscated an explosive device from a home in the town of Madiun in eastern Java, as well as explosive materials and a bomb-making manual,” Alius said.

Saturday’s arrests came after two policemen were found murdered this month while investigating an alleged terrorist training camp in central Sulawesi’s Poso district.

Police said they had had been investigating an alleged camp linked to Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), declared a terrorist organization by the United States in February.

And before this month’s ceremony to commemorate the Bali bombings, Indonesia declared its top security alert citing “credible information” of a threat to the event which was attended by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Freeport-McMoran’s Indonesian subsidiary runs the world’s biggest gold and second-biggest copper mine in the restive Papua region, employing more than 20,000 people.

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