Joint anti-terror exercise opens in Indonesia

SENTUL, Indonesia (AP) - A multinational anti-terrorism exercise officially kicked off Monday in Indonesia, with 872 elite soldiers taking part from 18 countries.

Indonesia's Military Chief Gen. Moeldoko and U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN, David Carden, opened the five-day Counter Terrorism Exercise that runs until Friday on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

Moeldoko said in a speech that the threat of terrorism has increased in line with science and technology developments.

"The current dynamic of security development in the world needs serious attention from all security elements, especially the military," said Moeldoko, who was appointed as Indonesia's armed forces commander in August.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, has been battling terrorists since the 2002 bombings in Bali by militants linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

However, recent terror attacks in the country have been carried out by individuals or small groups and have targeted security forces and locals, with less deadly results.

Carden expressed the hope that the participants would share best practices and information to better cooperate in confronting the problem in the region.

He said the cooperation can also work for disaster preparedness.

The countries in the drill are the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with the United States, Russia, China, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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