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Australians avoid Bali due to terror fears -

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Australians avoid Bali due to terror fears

Reporter: Geoff Thompson

TONY EASTLEY: South East Asia's leading terrorism expert says that Indonesia's terrorist networks
are unlikely to pursue a strategy of small attacks despite warnings from a former Jemaah Islamiah
leader that this may be a new direction for the group.

The International Crisis Group's South-East Asia Director, Sidney Jones, says terrorists prefer
spectacular attacks which grab international attention.

Last night marked the one-year anniversary of the last suicide attacks in Bali which left 20 people
dead.

From Bali our Indonesia Correspondent Geoff Thompson reports.

(Sound of festive music)

GEOFF THOMPSON: A festive spirit has returned to Bali's Jimbaran Bay, a year after suicide bombers
walked among the candlelit beach tables where tourists were enjoying seafood dinners, and blew
themselves up.

GEDE SUKA: After the bombs last year, I saw about four people die up there. And then after I saw
the people you know, on the table, I saw the one body, this one Australian people.

GEOFF THOMPSON: Last night, a year ago, Gede Suka was waiting tables next to the Nyoman restaurant.
Back then there was no security on the road entrance to the restaurants.

And even now anyone can still approach the tables from the beach. But local staff keep a wary eye
out for anyone looking suspicious and wearing a backpack.

GEDE SUKA: It's a lot like before, I mean, before the bomb. When the people come to the beach so
easy, just come to the beach and they will stand here, they will be sitting here, but Kuta
(inaudible) not like that anymore.

GEOFF THOMPSON: Have you noticed there's much fewer Australians coming to Bali than this time last
year?

GEDE SUKA: Kuta this year, not so many anymore because they got the high terror warning from their
government, because their government asked the people not to come to Bali.

(Sound of people working in a kitchen)

GEOFF THOMPSON: The kitchen at Menega Café, where one bomb went off, is busy again and so are its
tables.

But walking among them at 8:30 last night not a single Australian accent could be heard.

The Australian Government's current travel advice is that Australians should reconsider travelling
to Bali because there is a very high risk of a terrorist attack and that such an attack could be at
the advanced planning stage.

Former Jemaah Islamiah division leader, Nasir Abbas, has warned that more autonomous terrorist
cells loyal to Noordin Mohammad Top could be plotting smaller scale attacks.

But the International Crisis Group's terror expert, Sidney Jones, does not agree, and believes that
if anything JI is in retreat.

SIDNEY JONES: I don't think there is any evidence to show that Jemaah Islamiah is expanding or
growing. I think quite the contrary, it's... everything suggests that it's shrinking. I think even
if we look at Noordin's group he didn't say that there would be an attack this year.

What he said was that they had a plan to launch an attack once a year. And clearly they haven't
done one this year.

GEOFF THOMPSON: It doesn't actually take much though, does it to kill a few people? Small arms or
that would be enough just to kill a few people for the cause.

Would you be surprised if there was an attack this year?

SIDNEY JONES: No, I wouldn't be surprised, but I think you underestimate the amount of planning
that actually goes in to even what seems like a fairly unspectacular attack, because people want to
choose targets that somehow have a significance in the overall jihadist effort.

So they just don't want to bump off a couple of people who happen to be walking down the street,
they want to do something that has enough significance that they can get lots of international
media attention for it, and that takes planning.

TONY EASTLEY: International Crisis Group's Sidney Jones speaking to our Correspondent Geoff
Thompson.