updated 12/18/2006 5:00:30 AM ET 2006-12-18T10:00:30

Americans and other Westerners in Indonesia should remain alert to the possibility of militant attacks over the Christmas and New Year period, the U.S. embassy in Jakarta said Monday.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has in recent years been hit by a series of bomb blasts blamed on Islamic militants.

“The U.S. Embassy reminds Americans in Indonesia of the continued serious security threat to Americans and other westerners in Indonesia,” it said in a statement e-mailed to Americans in Indonesia.

Most attacks against Western targets have taken place in the capital Jakarta and on the resort island of Bali.

“Terrorist attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against any location, including those frequented by foreigners and identifiably American or other western facilities or businesses,” the embassy said.

More than 190 militants have been convicted in connection with violent attacks and five sentenced to death, the head of the country’s counter-terrorism desk said earlier this month.

Around 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslim. The vast majority are moderates but there is an active militant minority.

Recent calm
Indonesia has been relatively calm in recent months and there has not been a major attack since a second set of suicide attacks in Bali in October, 2005.

But security analysts say the threat of militant attacks is still high because police have yet to catch one of the alleged masterminds of previous bombings, Malaysian-born Noordin Top.

Police last year killed Azahari Husin, an alleged leader of the Jemaah Islamiah regional network in a shootout in East Java province.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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