Asian civilians increasingly at risk from bombings: analysts

SINGAPORE, July 12, 2006 (AFP) – From Bali to Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Mumbai, Asian civilians are increasingly at risk of dying in bombings by militants, analysts said Wednesday.

“Actually there has been a very significant shift in the terrorist strategy,” said Kusnanto Anggoro, researcher at Jakarta’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies. “They are focused instead on the civilian targets.”

In Asia’s latest deadly attack, seven bombs exploded in trains and stations in the Indian financial capital Mumbai Tuesday night, killing at least 183 people and wounding more than 600 others.

“I’d say that there’s certainly more focus on civilian targets since 9/11,” said Clive Williams, a professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He was referring to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which killed about 3,000 people and for which Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility in the Mumbai blasts, the latest of many to hit the city over the past 13 years. Police have blamed most of the previous attacks on Muslim underground figures or Kashmiri separatists.

The list of Asian countries where ci