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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 13:45 GMT
Australia alert on Indonesia attack
An Indonesian man passes though a security check at the entrance of the Jakarta Hilton Hotel, Wednesday 15 Dec
Jakarta's Hilton hotel already has many security measures in place
The Australian government has warned that terrorists could be preparing to carry out an attack in Indonesia, possibly targeting a Hilton hotel.

It said it had received "credible information" about a possible attack, and advised Australians to avoid all international hotels in Indonesia.

The alert follows an advisory issued to Australians on Tuesday, to avoid non-essential travel to Indonesia.

But the warning about Hilton hotels is unusually specific.

Indonesia has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks in the last few years, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in September, which killed nine people, including a suicide bomber.

Travel advisory

There are three Hilton hotels in Indonesia, though all are locally owned and are not linked to the international Hilton hotel group.

There is one in the capital, Jakarta, one on the tourist island of Bali and another in the city of Surabaya.

Emeraldo Parengkuan, public relations director at the Hilton in Jakarta, said he first heard about the Australian warning from journalists.

The wreckage of the Australian embassy in Jakarta after the September bomb
Australia's embassy in Jakarta was targeted in September
An official from the Australian embassy later came to the building to confirm the statement, he told the BBC News website.

Mr Parengkuan said his hotel was taking the threat very seriously, and had already contacted the police about making additional precautions - although he added that the hotel already had many security measures in place.

According to Mr Parengkuan, the hotel is continuing to run smoothly and no guests have checked out because of the announcement.

An Indonesian woman staying at the hotel told the Associated Press that she would not leave because of the warning.

"It is shocking to hear your hotel is being targeted. I am here for a couple more days and I think I will stay. The hotel is secure enough, but who knows?" she said.

On Tuesday Australia's Foreign Affairs Department issued a travel advisory to Australians, saying it continued to receive reports that terrorist groups in the region were planning attacks on a range of targets in Indonesia.

"These attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in Indonesia and could be directed against any locations known to be frequented by foreigners," the warning said.

Australians were advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Indonesia over the Christmas and New Year period.

On Wednesday New Zealand also issued a fresh travel warning advising citizens against unnecessary travel to Indonesia.

Are you an Australian in Indonesia, or alarmed by Australia's warning? Are you planning to leave? And is it right for governments to give such specific advice about possible terrorist targets?

Here is a selection of your comments so far. Please send us your views using the form at the bottom of the page.

I was on my way to Jakarta for a business meeting with a colleague tomorrow but we have just cancelled due to the warning. The disturbing factor here is the apparent lack of intelligence sharing between allies such as Australia, the UK and the US. While Australians are being advised not to travel, there is only a three month old generic warning on the US State Department website, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website simply restating previous warnings. If there is credible evidence, why is this evidence not being shared in order to ensure that travellers all get the same message?
Gerry Southwood, Singapore

My wife and I are taking our two daughters aged 10 and 11 on a holiday to Indonesia on Saturday. We will start in Bali and then travel to one or two other islands for four weeks. Although we feel the government is obliged to pass on information we don't want our children to be brought up paranoid of travelling amongst our nearest neighbours. We have travelled in Indonesia with the children before and have nothing but great memories.
Shane Bilston, Broome, Australia

As an Australian I think that our government's action is really disgusting. Instead of supporting the USA and then troubling your citizens who travel or stay abroad, our government is responsible for creating this terror for our people. We have nothing to do with Iraq or the USA's policies, so why support such acts and send our valued troops there to die for America's sake? I hope that if Australia acts on its own and leaves the USA's shadow, we shall surely be loved in all the nations including the Asian countries. Moreover, the security here is really excellent and I appreciate the Indonesians for it.
Jimmy Ponting, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Australian government had hardly much credibility in the past when it comes to 'public warnings' or 'announcements'. Recent events have only proved perpetual inaccuracy and unreliability on their part. Besides, Australia needs to do more to get rid of its image as another crony of the Bush administration, as most Asian countries still view it with discreet hostility. Still, I guess no warning should be left ignored. We can only take the necessary precautions and pray for the best.
Adrian Fakhari, Singapore

Yes the government should give such warnings but they should be backed up by more supporting evidence to address criticism that they are unnecessarily creating a climate of fear. Otherwise, there is a danger that citizens will start being sceptical about future warnings.
Matthew Grove, Adelaide, Australia

The security at the hotels needs to block vehicles from approaching the buildings by barricading the roads around the hotel and then provide a shuttle service for the customers to the hotel entrance. All other service vehicles need to be searched at the barricade before proceeding to the hotel. We have got to out-think the bad guys, no matter how inconvenient it is.
Tom, Farmington, New Hampshire, USA

I have been working in Jakarta for the past six months, and have been impressed by the degree of security put in place at the large hotels and shopping malls. In many ways, these places are probably safer than in most other countries. I am planning to return to Australia for Christmas, but the warning has not played any part in my plans.
Stephen MacLeod, Jakarta, Indonesia

As a travel agent based in Singapore, I think the Australian government advice does nothing but cause uncertainty and panic over a peak period. It's a good way for the government to keep their citizens at home and spend money domestically over the Christmas period though!
Lim Su Lin, Singapore

As an Australian citizen, I am disgusted by this government's actions in the past few years, I find it impossible to tell if it's a credible warning, or just more of the propaganda, and scaremongering its been doing since it joined the Bush agenda. But I guess we have no choice but to act on these warnings, but I'd like to see them actually address the reasons for the threats in the first place. A more friendly public image in the Asian region would be a good start.
Vaughan Ryan, Perth, Australia

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