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November 28, 2002

11 Killed in Simultaneous Attacks on Israelis in Kenya

Terrorism now going beyond Israel to strike at Israelis
MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Three suicide car bombers killed at least eight people on Thursday at a Kenyan hotel used by Israelis, and missiles were fired at an Israeli airliner nearby in attacks both countries blamed on the al Qaeda network.

``I can see eight bodies in the lobby. Most appear to be adult men,'' a witness said outside the wreckage of the Mombasa Paradise hotel.

Police said a total of 11 were confirmed killed, including three bombers, six Kenyans and two Israelis.

Witnesses spoke of survivors staggering from the resort hotel to the nearby beach and screaming for water.

``Around 7:30, we heard a massive explosion. The entire building shook. From what I can gather, a car crashed through the gates of the hotel and into the lobby. Bombs were then thrown from the car,'' witness Kelly Hartog wrote on the Web site of The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

Eighty people were wounded in the hotel blast, Kenya's ambassador to Israel said. There was no claim of responsibility. Most of the tourists at the hotel were believed to be Israelis.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli Army Radio: ``To my regret there are two dead, two children.'' Israeli television separately reported that there were three Israeli dead, two of them children.

Within minutes of the hotel blast, missiles were fired at an Israeli Arkia airliner carrying 261 passengers as it took off from Mombasa's airport.

``About two kilometers (1.5 miles) from the airport, two missiles were fired at the aircraft from a white Pajero by some people who are suspected to be of Arab origin. Both missiles missed the aircraft,'' police spokesman Kimgori Mwangi said.

The hotel attackers were also described as of Arab appearance and also driving a white four-wheeled drive Pajero they had turned into a suicide bomb.