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U.S. warning of Bali threat

An Australian family places flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's nightclub bombing.

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CNN's Mike Chinoy takes a look at damage from the Bali bomb blasts and reports on the probe into who may be responsible.
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KUTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- U.S. diplomatic and intelligence officials say they repeatedly told the Indonesian government of information suggesting terrorists were planning attacks against "Western tourist sites" in the two weeks before the Bali bombings.

The most recent warning came just a day before the Saturday Bali blasts which killed nearly 200 people, U.S. government sources said.

A U.S. State Department notice issued last Thursday also warned that terrorists in Indonesia might attack non-official targets such as "clubs, schools, places of worship."

Bali was among the many locations the U.S. told Indonesia were threatened, U.S. officials said.

The U.S. warnings were made at a variety of levels, officials said, including during meetings between the U.S. ambassador and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

The Australian government on Wednesday conceded it had received the U.S. intelligence identifying Bali as a potential target but had not upgraded its travel advice.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard told parliament the intelligence had mentioned Bali as a possible target for terrorist activity along with other tourist areas in Indonesia.

"This intelligence was assessed by agencies and the view was formed by them that no alteration in the threat asessement level, then at a high, applying to Indonesia was warranted," Howard said.

The Australian leader, who is traveling to Bali Thursday, has now ordered a full review of all the intelligence and relevant material relating to Indonesia in the time before the blasts.

Megawati is now under heavy international pressure to crack down on a militant Islamic threat in Indonesia. (Bush piles pressure on Jakarta)

U.S. officials say the threat information they received was was "vague, not specific." But one official added: "There was a lot of it."

The information came not only from Omar al-Faruq -- the Kuwaiti-born al Qaeda operative under interrogation by the United States at an undisclosed location -- but also from a "variety" of other intelligence sources, officials said.

Australia has posted a A$2 million (US$1.1m) reward for information leading to those responsible for the deadly weekend blasts. The majority of those killed were mostly Australian tourists.

With Australians across the country in mourning, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in Bali on Wednesday that Canberra and Jakarta will also set up a joint investigation team into Saturday's bombings.

As investigators from around the world comb Bali's version of Ground Zero, Indonesia is also preparing to bring in emergency anti-terrorism measures in response to the attacks.

Australian officials say most victims will have to be identified through dental records, fingerprints or DNA samples.

No one has claimed responsibility for the deadly raid, which has been labeled the worst single terrorist attack since September 11, but authorities say they are "intensively" questioning two Indonesians in relation to the blasts.

One is Balinese, according to the national police chief. He reported seeing someone enter a nightclub across the street from Sari's nightclub and put down a white plastic bag, the chief said. A small explosion was followed soon after by the huge car bomb in front of Sari's, where most of the victims died.

The other man being questioned is the only surviving security guard at Sari's, officials said.

Authorities were also talking to the relatives of two Indonesian men whose identity cards were found in the rubble. The men themselves, said to be from East Java and Lombok, have not been located, but officials want to know why they were there.

So far, Indonesian police say traces of plastic explosives have been found at the blast scene -- the same type used two years ago in a deadly attack in Jakarta blamed on al Qaeda-linked Indonesian extremist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI).

The August 2000 bombing outside the Philippine ambassador's home killed two people.

Police have also identified a Mitsubishi L-300 minivan as the vehicle that carried the more devastating of the two bombs.

This, coupled with information from American and other intelligence officials, has added to mounting speculation that JI may have been involved.

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