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Global Jihad
Christians receive a 'bloody Christmas'
Islamic terrorists to target churches, key sites in Indonesia
Posted: December 24, 2002
12:30 p.m. Eastern

 2002 WorldNetDaily.com

Islamic militants in Bitung, Sulawesi, have threatened a "bloody Christmas," warning that they will detonate bombs at key sites including churches in the town, reports a local newspaper.

According to the Komentar, the group that planned the recent Makassar bombings at a McDonald's outlet and a car dealership has formulated a plan to reign terror on Christians celebrating the holiday season.

A number of terrorists have already taken up their positions in the town, and a number of youths have been specially "trained" by the group to take part. There are reports that five bombs have been hidden in preparation to hit vital targets.

The police chief, mayor and the head of the city council in Bitung discussed the threat and said they were taking concrete steps to prevent it. Officials announced they will be guarding the petroleum, telephone and electricity depots, places of worship and other important facilities over the Christmas and New Year period. If Bitung's petroleum depot is hit, authorities fear the whole of North Sulawesi will be shaken.

It is strongly suspected that those planning the bombings are part of the Suryadi network, reports Komentar. Suryadi, one of the Makassar bombing suspects, is involved as a trainer with the Moro Liberation Movement and has been delegated by Jemaah Islamiah, the militant Islamic terror organization suspected of orchestrating the Bali nightclub bombings, to destroy North Sulawesi through Bitung.

The city is home to 10,000 Christian refugees. Tensions have grown over the past year prompting local Christians to report their town doesn't "feel safe" anymore.

Tens of thousands of police officers and soldiers are also being deployed around the island of Java, in Bali and elsewhere across the nation for the holiday season, as intelligence officials say the Bali bombing suspects planned more attacks, possibly timed for Christmas Eve.

Popular tourist attractions, especially churches, have been identified as potential targets for terrorist strikes, reports the Melbourne Herald Sun.

The U. S., Australia and Britain have issued warnings in recent days about possible attacks on tourists during the Christmas season.

On Christmas Eve in 2000, 19 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks on churches and priests in 11 cities around Indonesia. Jemaah Islamiah is believed to have carried out those attacks. As WorldNetDaily reported, some 50,000 Christians in the Central Sulawesi province town of Tentena came under seize last December by a paramilitary group called Laskar Jihad, who's leader seeks to make Indonesia an Islamic state. About 15,000 Laskar Jihad troops equipped with AK-47 assault rifles, rocket launchers and bulldozers descended on the region.

At least 600 homes and six churches were burned in the weeks leading up to Christmas, residents reported to the Voice of the Martyrs, an Oklahoma-based group that monitors persecution against Christians.

The largest church in the coastal town of Poso, north of Tentena, was bombed and burned during the onslaught, and 15,000 Christians reportedly fled the area, VOM said.

In recent weeks, authorities in Singapore have also stepped up anti-terrorist measures. Popular tourist spots, including the Holland Village and Boat Quay shopping and nightclub areas, have been barricaded amid fears of car bombs.

"What we are trying to do here is create a sense of security," police spokesman Stanley Norbert told the Herald Sun.

Intelligence sources told The Straits Times that while they did not expect an outbreak the likes of the Christmas Eve bombings two years ago, there could be scattered attacks in outlying areas over the next few days. A senior intelligence official said the threat assessment for Jakarta and Java was "lower", given that police had stepped up security in these areas.

"But that does not mean that we are safe," he said. "There are concerns that the provinces in eastern Indonesia and Sumatra could be vulnerable to some kind of attack, given that there are large pockets of Christians in some of these provinces." He noted that several terrorist ringleaders had used these areas to plan their operations and, despite the wide-scale arrests over the last two months, extremist cells were still intact throughout Indonesia. Many of the Jemaah Islamiah's top leaders were on the run but still in touch with their foot soldiers, he added.

Singapore authorities have detained 31 alleged Jemaah Islamiah members since last year, following the discovery that the banned organization planned to use truck bombs to attack the U.S. embassy and other Western targets.

Related stories:

Jihad forces Islam on Christians

Christians terrorized in Muslim Indonesia

What is a Muslim soldier?

Sheep for the Slaughter

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