Big bomb found near Indonesia church; 19 arrested

A 150-kilogram (330-pound) bomb was found buried beneath a gas pipeline near a church in Jakarta.

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 21:55 PM IST

Jakarta: Indonesia was in a state of high alert on Thursday after the arrest of 19 terror suspects led police to a 150-kilogram (330-pound) bomb buried beneath a gas pipeline near a church.

Senior security minister Djoko Suyanto said he believed Islamic militants had been plotting an attack outside of the capital during Good Friday celebrations.

"The army and police are under high alert," he told reporters after attending a meeting chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "We want to guarantee safety."

Indonesia, the world`s most populous Muslim nation, was thrust onto the front lines in the battle against extremists in 2002 after al-Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

There have been several attacks since then targeting glitzy hotels, restaurants and an embassy, killing another 60.

In recent months, militants have shifted their focus to local "enemies," including police on anti-terror operations, members of a minority Islamic sect, moderate Muslim leaders and Christians.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said the 19 suspects were arrested Thursday, including six accused in a series of mail bombs sent last month to liberal Muslim activists and a former anti-terror chief.

Four people were wounded in the parcel bombings, none seriously.

The arrested men eventually led police to the gas pipeline near a church in the city of Serpong, southwest of Jakarta, where they found the massive bomb.

Bureau Report