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20 Killed in Indonesia Bombings

Two bomb blasts on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island claimed at least 20 lives Saturday. The explosions occurred in a region that has a history of Christian-Muslim violence.

The two bombs exploded at a bustling street market in the central Sulawesi town of Tentena, a Christian-majority populated town.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but Sulawesi has approximately equal Christian and Muslim populations.

Violence between Christians and Muslims broke out in this region in early 2000, claiming over 1,000 lives.

After a peace treaty was signed, much of the fighting subsided, but sporadic clashes have broken out between Christians and Muslims in the past six months.

The fighting in Sulawesi also attracted some Islamist fighters with alleged links to al-Qaida, but Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based expert on terrorism, says this latest explosion is not linked to terrorism.

"The scale of the bombing is certainly significant, compared to the small bombs that we have seen in Sulawesi, but again, the fact that it only killed Indonesians suggests this is not a JI bombing," he said.

JI, or Jemaah Islamiyah, is the regional terrorist network, blamed for a string of bombings in Indonesia over the past three years that have claimed more 200 lives, many of them foreigners.

Mr. Gunaratna says Jemaah Islamiyah usually attacks U.S. targets, or those linked with the United States.

"Most JI attacks are aimed at the allies and the friends of the United States, as well as U.S. targets," he said.

Tentena is 60 kilometers south of the coastal town of Poso, where much of the previous violence between Christians and Muslims occurred.