Subject: LUSA: Islamic terrorists aiming at foreign interests in Dili - UN police

30-10-2002 12:56:00. Notícia nº 4282779…

East Timor: Islamic terrorists aiming at foreign interests in Dili - UN police

Dili, Oct 30 (Lusa) - Portuguese, Australian and US interests in East Timor may be targeted by Islamic terror groups in the near future, according to a UN police intelligence report obtained by Lusa in Dili Wednesday.

The report, prepared by a Portuguese intelligence officer, said attacks would most likely target cafes, hotels or Portuguese and Australian banks frequented by foreigners in Dili, as the potential terrorists considered embassies as "very difficult" targets.

It warned that attacks were most likely between November and May on historic dates linked to East Timor's struggle for independence from Indonesia.

Word of the intelligence report was broken earlier Wednesday by Australia's ABC radio.

Canberra immediately raised its alert status for Australians in East Timor to "high" risk.

Dili's foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, reacted to news of the report, saying his country was "in many ways like Bali" of Indonesia, where terrorist bombers killed more than 180 people, mostly Australians vacationers, earlier this month.

East Timor "is a Catholic enclave that stands in the way of the fundamentalist strategy of coverting or dominating the entire region" for Islam, Ramos Horta said.

The report, citing a "credible" and "voluntary" source, pointed to the regional, radical Islamic group Jemaah Islamiyah as the probable mastermind of the potential threat.

Two possible terror operatives were identified as a former Indonesian soldier who served in East Timor and a Pakistani national who had spent time at Dili's mosque.

The two men, according to the UN police intelligence report, were equipped with "sophisticated" communications and planned to smuggle explosives into East Timor from Indonesian West Timor through the border town of Atambua.

ASP/SAS -Lusa-

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