Terrorists attack Israeli tourists in Kenya - 12 people murdered, including two Israeli children, over 80 injured

The Jerusalem Post reports on a terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Kenya:

KIKAMBALA, Kenya - Three suicide bombers attacked an Israeli-owned beach hotel Thursday, killing 12 other people minutes after at least two missiles were fired at an Israeli airliner taking off from the nearby airport.

Officials suspected al-Qaida terrorists were behind the nearly simultaneous attacks. The dead included two Israeli brothers aged 12 and 13 years [Note: Israeli radio reports that the brothers are aged 8 and 10]. [...]

At about 8:35 a.m. (0530 GMT), a green all-terrain vehicle packed with explosives rammed through the gate of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, an Indian Ocean beach resort 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of Mombasa, police said. One man jumped out and blew himself up inside the hotel, while the others detonated the vehicle out front, witnesses said. [...]

In Beirut, Lebanon, a previously unknown group calling itself "Government of Universal Palestine in Exile, The Army of Palestine" claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were to mark the 55th anniversary of the partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews that led to the establishment of the state of Israel.

The attack on the civilian airplane by the terrorists is a clear escalation of the conflict, and I heard Prime Minister Sharon on Israeli radio saying that he'll respond accordingly.





Bombing at Kenyan hotel kills 11; missiles fired at Israeli airliner
By THE ASSOCIATEDE PRESS, Nov. 28, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?
pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/
ShowFull&cid=1038465354677

KIKAMBALA, Kenya - Three suicide bombers attacked an Israeli-owned beach hotel Thursday, killing 12 other people minutes after at least two missiles were fired at an Israeli airliner taking off from the nearby airport.

Officials suspected al-Qaida terrorists were behind the nearly simultaneous attacks. The dead included two Israeli brothers aged 12 and 13 years.

In Beirut, Lebanon, a previously unknown group calling itself "Government of Universal Palestine in Exile, The Army of Palestine" claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were to mark the 55th anniversary of the partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews that led to the establishment of the state of Israel.

However, Kenyan and Israeli authorities suspected Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network was behind the daring attacks. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put the Mossad spy agency in charge of investigating the attacks,and the Israelis vowed to track down the perpetrators.

"Our hand will reach them," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, said of the attackers. "If anyone doubted that the citizens of the state of Israel cannot stand up to the killers of children, this doubt will be removed."

At about 8:35 a.m. (0530 GMT), a green all-terrain vehicle packed with explosives rammed through the gate of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, an Indian Ocean beach resort 20 kilometers (15 miles) north of Mombasa, police said. One man jumped out and blew himself up inside the hotel, while the others detonated the vehicle out front, witnesses said.

Police spokesman King'ori Mwangi said the dead included nine Kenyans, two Israeli children and an Israeli man - and the three bombers.

Most of the Kenyan dead were traditional dancers who were performing for the tourists, said Abbas Gullet of the Kenyan Red Cross. Zelig Feiner, spokesman for ZAKA Israeli rescue services, said the dead Israeli brothers were from the Jewish settlement of Ariel on the West Bank.

About 80 other people were wounded, said John Sawe, the Kenyan ambassador to Israel.

About five minutes before the hotel attack, two missiles streaked by a jetliner owned by the Arkia charter company as it left the Mombasa international airport bound for Tel Aviv.

Witnesses said the missiles were fired from an all-terrain vehicle two kilometers (a mile) from the airport, according to another police spokesman, Jesse Mituki.

Mwangi said two missile casings were found near the airport and "three or four men with Arab features" were seen leaving the area in a white vehicle. He said reports that two suspects had been arrested were false.

"It looks like a coordinated attack," Mituki said.

The aircraft landed safely about 5$ hours later in Tel Aviv. None of the 261 passengers and 10 crew members was hurt.

Yehuda Sulami, the Paradise Hotel's director, said the vehicle smashed through a gate outside the three-story, beach-side hotel. When it reached the lobby, one man got out, ran into the reception area and set off an explosion, killing himself, Sulami said.

He said the other two stayed in the vehicle, which exploded.

Hotel staff also saw a light plane circling over the hotel at the time of the explosion, he said. Three packages, which staff said were bombs, were dropped from the plane, one landing in the hotel pool, one on the roof and one in the ocean, he said.

There were 140 guests at the 160-bed hotel at the time of the blast, Sulami said. There are normally 40 security guards at the hotel, he added.

"We have good relations with this community we have been here for years. We have no problems," he said.

Kenya's coast is a predominantly Muslim region, and the area is popular with holidaymakers from Israel and Europe.

Following blast, fire gutted the building, and an Associated Press reporter saw seven bodies burned beyond recognition. Rescue workers covered the bodies and searched for more casualties.

"We aren't sure this is the end, and there are quite a number of Israelis injured," Yoav Biran, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's director general, said.

Kenyan Vice President Musalia Mudavadi said that during the last six months, Kenyan intelligence had been picking up reports that the country could be targeted by terrorists. He did not elaborate.

"We can't rule out the group that struck at us in 1998," he said, referring to al-Qaida's attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998.

One blast at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya's capital Nairobi killed 219 people and wounded 5,000. A nearly simultaneous attack on the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Tanzania killed 12 people and injured more than 80. Those convicted in the attacks have been linked to al-Qaida.

Sawe said, the Kenyan ambassador, said, "I don't have any doubt this is al-Qaida."

Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that although al-Qaida was suspected, authorities were looking into other possibilities. He said Palestinian militants have been trying to get shoulder-held missiles from Iran and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.

Netanyahu called the missile attack "a very dangerous escalation of terror."

"It means that terror organizations and the regimes behind them are able to arm themselves with weapons which can cause mass casualties anywhere and everywhere," Netanyahu said. "Today, they're firing the missiles at Israeli planes, tomorrow they'll fire missiles at American planes, British planes, every country's aircraft. Therefore, there can be no compromise with terror."

The pilot of the Arkia Airlines plane, Rafi Marek, said he felt a "light hit" and saw two white vapor trails on the left of the aircraft shortly after takeoff, but initially did not think the plane was under attack, believing instead it had hit a bird.

Marek, speaking to a news conference at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, did not say at what point he suspected foul play.

Marek said that after checking the plane's systems, he decided to continue flying to Israel.

Passengers said they heard a loud boom and felt the plane
shake just after takeoff. The airline said there was no damage to the plane.

"It felt like something fell off the wing," Kerry Levy, 25. Crew members did not explain what happened until just before landing.

Israel's national air carrier, El Al, denied reports that its planes in other countries had been grounded after the missile attack.


Here's my original report on FactsOfIsrael.com with information I got from Israeli radio:

Israeli radio reports that there were two terrorist attacks against Israelis in Mombasa, Kenya:

1) Terrorists fired two missiles at an Israeli plane. They missed and the plane has safely returned to Israel.
2) A car exploded in front of the "Paradise Hotel" - there are so far 10 people dead, including two Israeli children and dozens of Israeli tourists injured.

Update 11:02 PM: Just heard an interview with an Israeli girl who was hurt in the explosion and gave more details on the terrorist attack. It happened about 2 hours ago (9 PM PST), but the Kenya ambulances have not yet arrived. She heard a huge explosion from the lobby. The hotel has burned to the ground, many people have third degree burns and injuries due to broken glass all over their bodies. The girl cried and was obviously in shock.

Update 11:22 PM: The Jerusalem Post has now a story about the missile attacks - Arkia airline investigating whether missile was fired at aircraft

Update 11:27 PM: Israeli radio reports that the IDF (Israel's army) is preparing to send a plane with a medical team to help the injured and get them out of Kenya.

Update 12:13 AM: Israeli radio reports that the BBC published a story that mentions at least 10 dead and dozens of injured, including many children. A terrorist drove a truck full of explosives into the lobby of the hotel.

Update 1:01 AM: Israeli radio reports that 2 Israeli children are among the victims. The Israeli embassy in Nairobi is sending a medical team and an IDF plane is leaving shortly from Tel-Aviv to Kenya.

It is now 1:40 AM and I'm pretty beat. I'll update this entry tomorrow when the main news sites come up with a story with all facts.

Posted by David Melle
 Link to this page |   Email this entry |   digg this

Comments

MAY THE ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS ISRAEL AND GIVE HER THE STRENGTH TO OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES IN LIFE. ISRAEL WILL LIVE AND AL QAEDA WILL DIE. IN THE NAME THE LIVING GOD I PRAY!

Posted by: vincent at December 3, 2002 02:43 AM


Post a comment




Remember Me?


Enter the code shown:   
This helps us prevent automated spam comments

Comments are open and unmoderated, although obscene or abusive remarks may be deleted. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of FactsOfIsrael.com. See the Terms of Use for more details.

Email this entry
Email this entry to
(Please enter email address):


Your email address:


Message (optional):


Referrers to this Page

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains some copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.