Official risk warning raised after attacks

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The Independent Online

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, also said the Bali attack was a "complete surprise," and that Canberra had not received specific reports of a possible terrorist attack on Bali. Reports of possible attacks had focused on the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, he said.

The Australian government warned its citizens that "Australians in Indonesia who are concerned for their safety should consider departing".

Asked why the British Government had not advised Britons to leave, the Foreign Office spokesman stressed that citizens were provided with advice and "it is up to people to decide in the light of that advice". The spokesman added: "The key points is that we have made it very clear that the region is a high threat."

The travel advice on the Foreign Office website, which the spokesman said was "constantly under review", was updated after Saturday's bombings. It last night said "people still intending in the immediate future to travel to Bali should review thoroughly information on the local situation, and ensure they are taking full precautions and following local advice".

The spokesman confirmed the Australian and British governments, which work in close co-operation on terror threats, had amended their travel advice on Indonesia at the end of last week. He stressed, however, that contrary to newspaper reports yesterday, this was not terror-linked, but concerned the perceived increased threat to humans from bird flu.

The Australian Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, said suggestions that the US had raised its travel warning for Indonesia in the past week were unfounded. "That was the reissue on available information, the same information we formed our opinions on ... [it was a] reiteration of their assessment rather than any new assessment."

No Britons were killed in the attacks, although the British ambassador to Indonesia, Charles Humfrey said that 10 bodies at the Sanglah hospital mortuary had not yet been identified. One of the two Britons injured was seriously hurt.

An international rugby team with some British members and British workers involved in a large volunteer operation are all safe. Several Britons interviewed yesterday said they intended to remain in Bali despite the bombings. About 1,000 are believed to be on the Indonesian island with British tour operators.

The Foreign Office said its helpline had been "extremely busy" and was receiving about 120 calls an hour from concerned friends and family.

The government became embroiled in controversy after the 2002 Bali bombings, which left 28 Britons dead, over the level of travel warnings. The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. said then that no specific warnings were available although there was "generic threat information" which covered Bali and other islands in Indonesia.

Foreign Office helpline: 0207 008 8765

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