The police forces of Southeast Asia and Australia agreed to boost cooperation in the fight against Islamic terrorism on Friday, after Indonesia's police chief warned that suicide bombings could spread from his country across the region. "Most of the major bomb blasts in Indonesia have been committed by suicide bombers, and this modus operandi may also occur in other ASEAN member countries if we are not able to find a way to prevent this barbaric action," Indonesia's police chief Gen. Sutanto told regional police chiefs gathering in Jakarta.
Indonesia and the Philippines have been hit by a string of terror attacks in recent years blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida linked terror group with cells across the region, and have arrested scores of militants.
Malaysia, Singapore and Australia have also prevented alleged attacks by Islamic militants. In a joint statement released Friday at the end of a two-day meeting, delegates stressed the need to boost cooperation in "detecting, preventing and investigating terrorist acts."
Jemaah Islamiyah, whose leaders are mostly Indonesian nationals trained in Afghanistan and the Indonesian island of Maluku, have been severely weakened by a regional police crackdown since 2001. Still, it retains the capability to launch more attacks, officials say, reports the AP. I.L.