Sunday, May 08, 2005

Australia Warns Of Terrorist Attack In The Philippines

Australia warned of the risk of an imminent terrorist attack in the Philippines and urged its citizens to avoid tourist areas. "We continue to receive reports that terrorists in the region are planning attacks," said an Australian foreign ministry statement posted on the Australian Embassy’s website. "Recent reports suggest that terrorists may be in the final stages of planning an attack. Attacks could occur at any time, anywhere in the Philippines," the travel advisory said. There was no immediate official reaction from the Philippine government. The warning urged Australians in the Philippines to "exercise extreme caution." "Possible terrorist targets include areas known to be frequented by foreigners, including coastal resorts," it said. It also urged vigilance at "commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as, but not limited to, embassies, expatriate housing complexes, shopping malls, clubs, hotels, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas." The advisory also listed infrastructure associated with the government, such as "public transport, airports, seaports and public buildings." The Philippines has witnessed many bombings in recent years linked to Islamic militants from the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah militant groups, both of which are accused of links to the al-Qaeda network. Bombs in Manila and the southern Philippines on February 14 claimed several lives and a ferry bombing in Manila Bay led to the deaths of more than 100 people last year. "Australians should avoid travel on ferries unless no other means of travel is available," said the advisory.