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Bali bomb plot: Five suspected terrorists shot dead by Indonesian police

Members of the elite police unit carried out raids on hotels in Sanur and Denpasar, shooting dead five suspected terrorists and confiscating weapons and ammunition.

Bali bomb police 12 03 18Enlarge
Elite Indonesian anti-terror police commandos from Densus 88 unit pictured on Feb. 20, 2012. Members of the same squad have just conducted raids in Sanur and Denpasar and shot dead five men suspected of planning bomb attacks on the holiday island of Bali. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Counter-terrorism police in Indonesia have shot dead five people believed to have been planning a series of attacks on the holiday island of Bali.

According to the AAP, heavily-armed officers raided two addresses, one in the Balinese capital Denpasar and the other in the coastal town of Sanur on Sunday night, local time.

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Witnesses in Sanur told the news agency that they heard gunshots for several minutes coming from the Lhaksmi Hotel and saw the bodies of three suspected terrorists being removed from one of the bungalows.

Another two suspected terrorists were shot and killed during a raid at an address in Denpasar.

Reuters reports that Indonesia's counterterrorism agency says the the suspected militants identified their targets and conducted surveillance as part of planning for the attacks.

"They have several targets in several locations in Bali. They have surveyed the places," Ansyaad Mbai, the agency's head, was quoted as telling Reuters by telephone.

The news agency said Mbai described the sites as "typical terrorist targets" but did not provide details. He reportedly said the suspects belong to a group linked to another that had conducted bank robberies and paramilitary training in other parts of Indonesia.

Bali Police confirmed the deaths to the Jakarta Globe newspaper, which reports that the officers conducting the raids were from the elite police unit Special Detachment 88, also known Densus 88.

The Bali Police spokesman Senior Commander Hariadi said that the suspects were all male and were suspected of plotting a robbery to finance a terrorism act.   He added that firearms and several rounds of ammunition had been confiscated from both locations.  However, he could not confirm reports that a high-profile terrorism suspect was among the groups raided.

The Bangkok Post quotes the national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar as saying the suspects were  part of a group who killed a police officer in a bank robbery in Medan in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra in 2010.

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The Sydney Morning Herald refers to anonymous police sources who said it was possible the group was planning to carry out attacks on Thursday, on the eve of Nyepi,the annual Day of Silence, which marks the Balinese Hindu New Year.

It's now almost ten years since the 2002 Bali bombings, in which 202 people including dozens of tourists were killed.  Two nightclub in the resort town of Kuta and the United States consulate in Denpasar were targeted in the Oct. 12 attack, which Wikipedia says is "the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia".

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/indonesia/120318/bali-bomb-plot-five-suspected-terrorists-shot-de