Indonesia's Bali marks deadly bombings 10 years on

Australian PM Julia Gillard attended a ceremony on the island of Bali

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Commemorations have been held on the Indonesian island of Bali to mark the bombings 10 years ago that killed 202 people.

People from 21 nations died in the bombings, blamed on the Jemaah Islamiah militant group, on 12 October 2002.

Security was tight after Bali police on Wednesday warned of possible attacks against visiting dignitaries.

The bombs ripped through Paddy's Irish Bar and the nearby Sari Club in Bali's popular Kuta tourist district.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former PM John Howard and opposition leader Tony Abbott all attended the commemorations. Eighty-eight Australians were among the dead.

'Contesting emotions'

Speaking at the early morning memorial service in Jimbaran, Bali, Ms Gillard said Australia and Indonesia were "closer than we had ever been before''.

Bali bombings 12 Oct 2002

  • Paddy's Bar and Sari Club in the resort of Kuta targeted, 202 killed from 21 countries
  • Militant group Jemaah Islamiah blamed for the bombings
  • Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron (Mukhlas) executed in November 2008 for planning the attacks
  • Alleged attack planner Dulmatin (2010) and bomb-maker Azahari Husin (2005) killed
  • Another suspect Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin) is being held in Guantanamo Bay

She paid tribute to rescuers who ''ran towards terror'', and to police and leaders in both Australia and Indonesia for how they handled the aftermath of the blasts.

''This is a day of contesting emotions,'' she added, addressing visibly emotional family members of victims attending the ceremony.

An estimated 1,000 Australians had travelled to the island for the commemorations. One of them was Danny Hanley, who lost two daughters in the attack.

His eldest daughter, Renee, died inside the Sari Club and his youngest daughter, Simone, after 58 days of treatment in hospital.

"When I hear of the 88 Australians that died I always shed a tear because my beautiful daughter Simone was number 88," he said.

Bali and Australia

The explosions in Bali thrust Australia to the frontline of international terrorism for the first time. It was the country's worst loss of life since World War II and its traditional sense of protective isolation was shattered.

Australia responded by reinforcing tough counter-terrorism laws and beefing up intelligence agencies. It also developed a more suspicious public attitude to outsiders amid fears of what extremists might unleash next. These concerns intensified after attacks on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and a second deadly Bali bombing a year later.

The deaths of 88 Australians at Kuta beach a decade ago also fed into foreign policy. They were used by successive governments in Canberra to justify military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With the threat of Islamic radicalism dented in Indonesia, Bali continues to draw foreign tourists. But Australia will never forget the attacks there or the lives that they ruined

Many of those who survived the attacks, such as Tumini, who was a bartender at Paddy's, continue to be haunted by memories.

"I feel my life is still miserable. I am not 100% normal," she told the Associated Press. "I often think and ask why God still allows me to live if I have to endure this pain."

Attacks 'utterly failed'

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who spoke before Ms Gillard, also paid tribute to the rescuers and honoured both victims and survivors.

The attackers, he said, ''utterly failed'', but instead reinforced ''our collective commitment to strengthen the voice of moderation... to fight extremism and intolerance in all its forms.''

Mr Natalegawa was representing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the event.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday, Mr Yudhoyono said that whatever the attackers had intended, "the Bali bomb attack did not produce its desired effects".

Survivor Polly Brooks: "I realised I was still alive. Then I realised I was on fire"

"In fact, it resulted in just the opposite. Throughout Indonesia, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists overwhelmingly condemned the attack and repudiated those who misused religion to carry out acts of violence."

He added that Indonesia had "galvanised to defend freedom, democracy and tolerance" as well as become "a key player in the fight against global terrorism".

More than 2,000 security personnel have been deployed to Bali for the anniversary, reports said.

In Australia, memorial services were held across the country. In Sydney, Foreign Minister Bob Carr was at a ceremony attended by hundreds. Services were held in the capital Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne as well.

The attacks were blamed on Jemaah Islamiah, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militant group.

Three men were executed for their role in the bombings in 2008 and several others have either been jailed or killed by the security forces.

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