Security alert unchanged

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DESPITE escalating fears of retaliation after the death of September 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, the official alert level of the Australian Jewish community remains unchanged.

“At present, there is no specific intelligence or information relating to a local threat which warrants any increased level of alert for the Jewish community,” said David Rothman, head of Sydney’s Communal Security Group.

The threat to the Jewish community in NSW remains high, however, and the community should remain “alert”, he said. “Many analysts are working to ascertain the global implications of this historic event; what is certain is that the period ahead will be interesting and unpredictable,” he said.

He also warned that bin Laden and al-Qaeda have always focused their attention on four primary targets – US, British, Australian and Jewish institutions.  “A reprisal attack would likely follow this principle and hone in on western or Jewish places of mass gathering or critical infrastructure,” he said.

In Melbourne, Community Security Group (CSG) director Amit Bar Giora issued a similar statement.

“There is currently no specific information regarding a reprisal attack, but such an attack remains a strong possibility. It is hard to determine where [or whether] such an attack will take place.

“CSG therefore advises all Jewish community organisations to remain vigilant since Jewish instillations still remain a high priority for terrorist cells.”