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Indonesia terror police find bombs

Terror suspects arrested in Indonesia have led police to five massive bombs buried beneath a gas pipeline near a church just outside the capital Jakarta, officials said.

Djoko Suyanto, a security minister, said he believed Islamic militants had been plotting an attack ahead of Easter celebrations. The US embassy urged Americans to be vigilant.

The explosives, safely defused at the scene, had been set to detonate by mobile phone at around 9am on Friday.

"The army and police are under high alert," the minister told reporters, adding that troops would be deployed at churches and other strategic locations. "We want to guarantee safety."

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been battling extremists since 2002 when al Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Several attacks since then targeted hotels, restaurants and an embassy, killing another 60. Hundreds of suspects have been arrested, convicted and imprisoned.

In recent months, small bands of militants hoping to turn the secular nation of 237 million into an Islamic state have shifted their focus to local "enemies". They have targeted police, members of a minority Islamic sect deemed "deviant," Christians and moderate Muslim leaders.

National Police Chief Gen Timur Pradopo said 19 suspects were arrested, including six in connection with a series of mail bombs sent last month to liberal Muslim activists and a former anti-terror chief.

Several people were wounded in the parcel bombings, none seriously.

The arrested men eventually led police to the gas pipeline 100 yards from a Catholic church large enough to hold 3,000 people in Serpong. They discovered five bombs that together weighed 150 kilograms and were rigged to be detonated by mobile phone, according to Nardi Atmaja, a church official at the scene.


From Belfast Telegraph