JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Scolded internationally for ignoring demands that it crack down on terrorism, Indonesia pledged Wednesday to press ahead with tough new anti-terror laws and formed an international investigative team to hunt for the culprits in the Bali nightclub bombing.
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce disclosed that in the month before the Bali attack, he and other American envoys had discussed with Indonesian officials possible attacks against U.S. targets.
But Boyce said that the warnings were not specific to Indonesia. They coincided with a temporary closure of embassies in Jakarta and other regional capitals because of terrorist threats during the Sept. 11 anniversary.
Even as the government in Jakarta vowed to fight terrorism more aggressively, Indonesia's security minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, claimed that Jemaah Islamiyah -- an al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group identified by Australia and others as a likely culprit -- does not even exist in Indonesia.
And the spiritual head of Jemaah Islamiyah denied the group existed at all. He also denied that al-Qaida was tied to the nightclub attack, which killed at least 183 people -- most of them foreign tourists -- and left hundreds more injured.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who is visiting Jakarta, said Indonesia and Australia have agreed to form a joint intelligence team in the wake of the blast and have invited other nations to join.
U.S. officials said Wednesday they believed the number of Americans killed in the weekend bombing would eventually climb to five or six. Authorities have so far confirmed that two U.S. citizens died and four were injured.
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