AUSTRALIA Australia to fly terror victims' families to Bali for tenth anniversary

Sign that fear of terrorism in Indonesia is waning

July 13, 2012

Canberra: Australia plans to fly relatives of tourists killed in the 2002 Bali bombings to the resort island to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks, in a sign that fear of terrorism in Indonesia is waning.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on Thursday that her government was discussing with families of victims what financial help they need to attend commemorative events. Two bomb blasts triggered by the Al Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, on Oct. 12, 2002.

"A number of the family members of those who lost their lives will want to be in Bali at the commemorative events there, and as a government we will be providing some assistance for family members," Gillard told reporters.

Last year, the government was advising Australians to "reconsider the need to travel" to Indonesia, including Bali, to mark the ninth anniversary.

The government downgraded its travel warning in May, although the threat of a terrorist attack is still described as high.

Australian visitors to Bali are now advised to "exercise a high degree of caution."

Brian Deegan, an Australian lawyer whose 21-year-old son, Josh, was killed in the blasts, said government help for families to make the journey was "a positive thing," if security on Bali was going to be tight.

Deegan said he planned to go to Bali for the anniversary regardless of whether the government offered him help.

He said he had visited Bali only once, in 2003, to see one of the terrorists, Amrozi Nurhasyim, face court. Nurhasyim was one of three ringleaders executed in 2008 for the crime. Deegan said he thought he would never return to Bali, but the approaching anniversary had changed his mind.

"He was almost 22 years alive and now he's 10 years dead - it's an awkward, revolting feeling and it's come about so quickly," Deegan said of his son.

"It's 10 years since I saw him alive" it's a long time, but it's also a short time," he said.


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