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June 24, 2017

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Indonesia gov't delcares top security alert over threat to ceremony in Bali

KUTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia declared its top security alert Wednesday, citing "credible information" of a threat to a ceremony this week marking the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

Shrugging off the warning, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard vowed to attend Friday's service in Bali for the victims of suicide attacks against two packed nightspots on Oct. 12, 2002, which included 88 Australians.

Indonesia's deadliest terror attack, by the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), opened an Asia front in the war on terrorism one year after the 9/11 attacks on the United States and dealt a morale-crushing blow to Australia.

"Based on credible information, the terrorists have planned to target the Bali bombing commemoration event with a terror attack," Bali deputy police chief I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana told AFP.

"Security at all entry points to Bali, such as airports and seaports will be intensified," he said, adding that security was at the "highest level."

"We are taking extraordinary security measures following this threat," he said, after earlier announcing that 1,000 security personnel including snipers, heavily armed police commandos and intelligence agents had been deployed.

Gillard is due to give an address to commemorate the Australians who were among the victims of the strike against the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar in the Indonesian tourist island's nightlife strip of Kuta.

Asked in Sydney whether she was concerned about traveling to Bali, Gillard said: "I do want to be in Bali for the 10-year commemorations.

"Families will be traveling there. It will be a day in which we pay our respects and remember what that moment was like for Australians."

Friends and families of victims have poured into Bali for Friday's service, some meeting at the "ground zero" site of the attacks or laying flowers at an adjacent stone memorial inscribed with the names of the dead.

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