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Indonesian radicals threaten to attack Americans

Security has been increased at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta
Security has been increased at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta  

By Atika Shubert
CNN Jakarta Bureau

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- Radical Islamic groups in Indonesia have threatened to attack Americans as part of a "jihad" or holy war following the U.S. strikes against Afghanistan.

"This shows that the U.S. is clearly a nation that has made an enemy of Islam and this is a very dangerous position for America," Ja'far Umar Thalib, head of Indonesia's largest militant group, Jihad Army.

"God willing, this will raise the worldwide solidarity of the Islamic people, especially the Islamic people of Indonesia, in facing America as the biggest enemy of the Islamic people," he said.

The Defenders of Islam, a small but vocal group based in the capital, Jakarta, has called on all Muslims in Indonesia to besiege the U.S. Embassy Monday evening.

They are also demanding that the Indonesian government sever diplomatic relations with the U.S. If not carried out, they threaten to "sweep" for American citizens and other nationals and forcibly evict them.

High alert

CNN's Atika Shubert reports on Indonesian reaction to the U.S.-led strikes in Afghanistan
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Security forces have been put on high alert throughout the city.

In addition to an increased number of troops throughout the city, 40 armored vehicles are now positioned near the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.

International schools in the city were closed Monday and the U.S. Embassy and British embassy have both asked their nationals to remain at home until a more certain security assessment can be made.

There are no plans to evacuate yet. The U.S. Embassy was closed Monday as previously planned for the American Columbus Day holiday and is considering whether to open Tuesday.

Government statement

The Indonesian government will be issuing a statement late Monday afternoon. A statement is also expected from Indonesia's top Islamic authority, the Council of Indonesian Islamic Teachers.

But, some political leaders have already expressed their disappointment with the U.S.-led military strikes.

"We ask the government to take a firm and clear position. If they want to chase down terrorists, then they should hunt them down with clear targets," Online news magazine, Detik.Com quoted Indonesia's Speaker of the House of Representatives, Akbar Tanjung.

"Not to carry out a total attack that will certainly result in many lost lives who may have nothing to do with the real terrorists." Indonesia is the world's largest Islamic country under a secular government. More than 80 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslim.

Rising radicalism has overshadowed Indonesia's moderate Muslim majority, allowing more militant groups to voice their opinions.

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