Bali marks bombings 10 years on
Survivors and families of the 202 people killed in the Bali bombings attend ceremonies to mark the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.
Security was tight for the occasion a decade after bombs destroyed a holiday in paradise for tourists partying at two nightclubs near the beach in Bali.
More than 2,000 police and military, including snipers, were deployed to guard the memorial service after reports involving the “certain movement” of terrorists were announced two days earlier. Australian prime minister Julia Gillard visited the island for the anniversary.
The attacks, which killed 88 Australians, 28 British and seven American tourists on October 12th, 2002, brought the two countries closer than ever before, Ms Gillard said, according to prepared remarks distributed to reporters. Indonesia and Australia worked together to rescue and heal the victims and dismantle the terrorist network responsible, she said.
"There is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do," she said. "They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, which has only grown stronger across the passage of a decade."
Indonesia deployed about 2,400 security personnel to secure today's memorial service after indications of a threat, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said yesterday. In the past few years, police killed the alleged masterminds of the attack, Noordin Top and Dulmatin, who were both tied to Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda linked group.
The security alert was raised to its highest level but no other details were released about the potential threat.
“The loss is not just giving us grief, it is also giving us the strength to fight terrorism and all other extremist activities,” said Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika, the former police chief who led the investigations following the attacks.
Most of Indonesia’s 210 million Muslims practice a moderate style of Islam that condemns violence, and the government has worked to root out extremists.
Terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes mostly targeting police and anti-terrorism forces.
Data from the national police shows more than 700 militants have been arrested over the past 10 years, including 84 last year. Dozens more have been killed since the Bali bombings.
The attack, carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, started a wave of violence in the world’s most-populous Muslim nation that hit an embassy, hotels and restaurants.
Though the number of domestic terrorist attacks has risen, suicide bombers are more likely to act alone or in smaller groups than they did in years past. Some members of Jemaah Islamiyah were convicted over the bombings and three were executed by firing squad in 2008.