3 Israelis killed in Kenya suicide attack - Missiles narrowly miss Arkia passenger plane en route to TA (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Ha´aretz Staff and Agencies 11/29/02)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
Two almost simultaneous attacks on Israeli targets in Mombasa, Kenya,
yesterday killed 12 people and wounded about 80.
All of the casualties, however, came from the second attack - a
suicide bombing at the beachfront Paradise Hotel, which is owned by
an Israeli and caters mainly to Israeli tourists.
The first attack - an attempt to hit an Arkia Airlines plane with two
shoulder-launched missiles as it departed Mombasa Airport for Tel
Aviv - was a failure, with both missiles narrowly missing the plane.
The dead included three Israelis and nine Kenyans, who are believed
to be hotel staff. The three unidentified bombers were also killed in
the attack, according to police spokesman King´ori Mwangi.
Two of the dead Israelis were brothers - Noy and Dvir Anter, aged 12
and 14, from the West Bank settlement of Ariel (see story this page).
The third was Albert (Avraham) De Havila, 60, of Ra´anana, a retired
civil servant who had started a new career as a tour guide. He
specialized in taking Israeli groups to his native Morocco, but was
in Mombasa yesterday leading a group of tourists to Kenya. De Havila
is survived by his wife and three daughters.
A previously unknown organization, "The Army of Palestine," claimed
responsibility for the attacks in a statement sent to news
organizations in Beirut, saying they had been carried out to mark the
anniversary of the November 29, 1947, decision by the United Nations
to partition Palestine and allow the creation of a Jewish state.
But Israeli and foreign intelligence services all concur that the
perpetrator had probably been Osama bin Laden´s al-Qaida network.
The attack at the Paradise Hotel, located some 20 kilometers north of
Mombasa, occurred at about 8:35 A.M. local time, when a new batch of
Israeli tourists had just finished checking in.
According to witnesses, a green all-terrain vehicle carrying three
men smashed through the main gate to the hotel compound - a
collection of buildings surrounded by palm trees that stretch to a
nearby beach along the Indian Ocean - and sped to the front of the
four-story hotel. One man jumped from the vehicle, sprinted into the
reception area and detonated a bomb. His two companions then
triggered a bomb in the vehicle, witnesses said.
The huge blasts shattered windows and masonry along the front of the
hotel, incinerated vehicles parked nearby, and set fire to the
thatched roofs of the outbuildings, reducing their wooden frames to
smoldering hulks. Stone walls were all that remained of the lobby.
"It was a big blast. I was thrown to the ground and the windows
shattered," said Zainul Jeddha, a Kenyan hotel worker who was in her
room on the fourth floor. "There was screaming, there was crying, it
Police said they were questioning two people seized near the scene of
the hotel bomb.
About five minutes before the hotel attack, two missiles streaked
past an Israeli-owned jet as it left Mombasa´s international airport.
The aircraft, owned by the Arkia charter company, landed safely about
four hours later in Tel Aviv. None of the 261 passengers and 10 crew
members was hurt.
Police said the missiles - believed to be Soviet-made SA-7s - were
fired from a white all-terrain vehicle about two kilometers from the
airport. Three or four Arab-looking men were seen leaving the area in
the van, police said. Investigators found two missile casings near
the airport, but have made no arrests.
In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush deplored the violence
and offered American help in the investigation. The European Union
said the attacks underlined the need "for international cooperation
against terrorism in all its forms."
And in Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put the Mossad in charge
of investigating the twin attacks.
"Our hand will reach them," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said of the
attackers following a round of security consultations in Tel
Aviv. "If anyone doubted that the citizens of the State of Israel
cannot stand up to the killers of children, this doubt will be
(© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 11/29/02)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY