UK, Thai embassies in Indonesia close amid bomb threats

Associated Press

Jakarta, January 14:

The British and Thai embassies in Indonesia were closed today following an anonymous bomb threat that police suspected was linked to two Malaysian militants wanted in a string of deadly bombings.

Police received the threats via mobile phone text message from an unidentified person who might be working with Malaysian terror suspects Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top, said National Police Chief Gen Da’i Bachtiar. The threats warned that the embassies would be targeted at 10 pm yesterday or 10 am today, police said. Both deadlines passed without any explosion in the areas. “It is not impossible that the threats against the embassies were just aimed at diverting our attention ... while their target is another place,” Bachtiar said, adding that police personnel were still trying to track down the sender.

Police have offered a $107,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Azahari and Noordin, alleged leaders in the Al Qaeda-linked regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Faye Belnis, British Embassy press officer, said officials today also closed a consulate office near the embassy. She said officials haven’t decided when the offices would reopen.

Belnis declined to say why British officials thought the bomb scare was credible enough to close the embassy and consulate. “I’m not able to say at the moment,” she said. A receptionist at the Thai Embassy also said officials haven’t decided when to reopen offices.

The British Foreign Office said in statement that the closure won’t have a detrimental effect on operations to provide relief to tsunami victims.