A leading terror expert has warned lax security at Indonesian airports presents a significant risk that Islamic State could bomb planes, with Australians possibly targeted.
Professor Clive Williams, from the Australian National University’s Centre for Military and Security Law, says support for IS in the world’s most populous Muslim nation also heightens the risk.
The warning follows Russian security forces saying on Wednesday they are certain a bomb brought down an Airbus jet on October 31 after it left Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt, killing all 224 people aboard.
Egyptian security officials have confirmed CCTV footage showed a baggage handler carrying a suitcase from an airport building to another man loading luggage from the runway onto the doomed airliner.
Prof Williams, also a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, told AAP it would not be too difficult for an unsophisticated explosive device to be planted on a plane leaving Indonesia.
“I think it’s more likely that being copy-catted than the kind of attack done in Paris,” he told AAP on Wednesday.
“It could be a baggage handler is paid money to put what he’s told is drugs on an aeroplane, not knowing it’s explosives.”
Asked about the threat, Indonesian ambassador to Australia Najib Riphat Kesoema said there were “some difficulties in doing the perfect way” but that Indonesia was trying its best to overcome security issues.
“Even today there will be a co-ordinating meeting in Jakarta just to enforce all the borders of Indonesia, including all of our airports, our ports and other places,” Mr Kesoema said on Wednesday at a counter-terrorism summit in Sydney.
Prof Williams added that Australians are a target for Islamic State because of Australia’s involvement in military action targeting the terror group in Syria and Iraq.
“There is an Islamic State affiliate in Indonesia, which is JAT, and it’s possible they could get a baggage handler in Indonesia to do the same sort of thing (as in Egypt).”
Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security, Luhut Panjaitan, said in Sydney on Tuesday that 800 Indonesians had travelled to the Middle East to join Islamic State.
More than 100 had already returned to Indonesia, where in 2002 more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, were killed in attacks in Bali.