U.S. Shuts Embassy in Indonesia

Published May 25, 2005

| Associated Press

The United States (search) closed its embassy and all other diplomatic offices in Indonesia Thursday, citing a security threat.

The decision comes a week after Australia (search) urged its citizens to avoid traveling to Indonesia because of a warning by police in Jakarta about possible suicide bombings, particularly at embassies, international schools, office buildings and shopping malls.

In an e-mailed statement, U.S. officials said the American embassy in Jakarta, the consulate in the city of Surabaya (search) and all other American government facilities would be closed. They also reaffirmed earlier warnings that the threat of terrorism in Indonesia "remains high," but did not elaborate on what led to the closings Thursday.

An embassy spokesman refused to comment further.

"Attacks could occur at any time and could be directed against any location, including those frequented by foreigners and identifiably American and other Western facilities or businesses in Indonesia," the statement said.

The United States and other countries — including Britain and Canada — have issued a string of travel advisories since the Oct. 12, 2002, Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

The attack was blamed on the all-Qaida-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which also is believed responsible for the Aug. 5, 2003, bombing of the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 and last year's attack at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta which killed 10 people.

Dozens of militants have been convicted in the Bali and Marriott attacks but many top terror suspects remain free and are believed to be somewhere in Indonesia.

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