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Indonesian police 'firm action' on anti-U.S. groups

Anit-U.S. protest
Hardline Islamic groups say they wil attack U.S. targets if Afghanistan is hit  


By CNN's Atika Shubert in Jakarta

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Police in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, say they will crack down on attempts by radical Islamic groups planning to "sweep" the city of American citizens pending an attack on Afghanistan.

"If any such thing is conducted in the Jakarta area, we will take firm action," said police spokesperson Anton Bachrul Alam.

"We will arrest them and process them according to the letter of the law."

Jakarta's police chief held a special meeting on Monday to discuss recent threats by extremist groups against American citizens in Indonesia.

On Sunday, an alliance of Islamic militants calling itself, the Anti-American Terrorist Troops, marched to at least 6 international hotels in the Central Java city of Solo, demanding to know if any Americans or Europeans were staying as guests.

The group distributed pamphlets warning Americans and their "allies" to leave the city immediately if the U.S. attacks Afghanistan, where suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is believed to be living.

RESOURCES
U.S. State Dept.: Indonesia travel advice
 
U.S. Embassy in Jakarta
 
 

Last week, extremist groups threatened to target U.S. interests and citizens in Indonesia.

Threats denounced

Muslim clerics from Indonesia's mainstream moderate groups denounced the threats.

"Why should they launch raids?" The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted Amidhan, co-chairman of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Clerics, as saying.

"It would be enough to stage peaceful rallies, but not raids."

The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Indonesia have stepped up security following several anti-American protests.

On Monday, demonstrators from the Islamic Study Forum gathered in front of the US Consulate in the East Java city of Surabaya.

"We would consider any US attack on Afghanistan to be terrorism," said one demonstrator during an oration.

The U.S. Embassy has warned American citizens to be on the alert and keep a low profile in the days ahead.






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