Terrorist attacks were less frequent and claimed no lives in Indonesia in 2006, a government minister said Tuesday, predicting that security will continue to improve in 2007 due to anti-terror operations.
Four people were wounded in 17 bombings across the world's largest Muslim nation in 2006, Law and Order Minister Widodo Adisucipto told reporters Tuesday. That compares to 49 who were killed and 183 wounded in 19 strikes in 2005, the deadliest being a triple-suicide strike on the resort island of Bali that killed 23, including the bombers.
However, Australian and American authorities issued warnings last week that Westerners could be targeted in Indonesia during the year-end holiday season.
Anti-terror operations launched since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States have netted 325 suspects, 200 of whom have gone on trial in Indonesian courts.
Since 2000, the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah has carried out four major attacks in Indonesia. The largest was the October 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.
The alleged mastermind of the organization, Noordin Top, remains at large.
"We predict that the security situation in 2007 will be much better than 2006 even though Noordin Top is still at large," Adisucipto said.
The death toll from attacks in 2006 dropped significantly because most of the explosions were at empty lots or uninhabited buildings, he said.
A series of bombings this year on Sulawesi island followed the September execution of three Christian militants convicted for religious violence that killed at least 1,000 between 1998 and 2002. No one was killed in the bombings.