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Alleged Qaida statement claims responsibility for Kenya attack (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Yossi Melman, Ha´aretz Correspondent and News Agencies 12/03/02 00:21) Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=236946&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0 HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
A purported al Qaida statement posted on the Internet on Monday claimed that the Islamic group had carried out last Thursday´s twin attacks on the Paradise hotel and Arkia airliner in Kenya. Internet analysts said that the statement includes phrases, terms and nicknames that have characterized other remarks made by the group. The statement surfaced on www.arabforum.net, and was signed by the "Political Office of Qaida al-Jihad."

Reuven Paz, who researches Islamic fundamentalism, told Ha´aretz that the "political office" has been mentioned since April on Internet sites associated with al Qaida and bin Laden´s supporters. According to Paz, the site is operated out of Qatar. Other such sites that had publicized material from bin Laden´s "political office," such as ones in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Pakistan have fallen, apparently hacked by the CIA or other espionage organizations.

According to Paz, the site is considered one of the main forums for bin Laden followers, and the person who wrote the statement is proficient in the dialect of Arabic spoken in Saudi Arabia.

The statement said that that purpose of the attacks in Mombasa, in which three Israelis and ten other people were killed, was to, "destroy the dreams of the Judeo-Crusader alliance, which wants to preserve their strategic interests in the region. This operation was intended to strike another blow against the Israeli establishment, like the one in the past at the synagogue at Jerba." The statement went on to say that another goal of the attack was to destroy the myth that that Mossad can reach anyone anywhere.

The statement said that the attacks came as a response to, "the conquering of our holy places," and the Israeli killing and destruction in the territories. "We will kill your children for the killing of ours, your women for our women, your elderly for our elderly, your castles for our houses," it said.

Paz and other experts stress that this is indeed al Qaida language and it is similar to at least three or four previous Internet statements. However, they added that it was hard to determine with full certainty if indeed it is an authentic bin Laden statement, if he is alive, or whether it was published by someone posing as him or trying to continue his legacy, or even an imposter.

Kenya considers giving suicide bomb evidence to Israel Kenyan police Monday said they would consider giving some of the evidence from last week´s suicide bomb near Mombasa to Israel to be analysed outside Kenya, following a request by Israeli investigators.

The request was made after Israeli officials expressed frustration at the way Kenyan officers were handling evidence and conducting the investigation into the attack on the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel, which killed 13 people as well as the suicide bombers.

William Langat, Kenya´s deputy police commissioner in charge of the investigation, told reporters in Mombasa on Monday that his men had earlier refused to hand over items, suspected to be parts of weapons and bombs, found at the scene of the blast because Israeli investigators had not asked him. "If they make a request it will be considered," said Langat. Ammunition, shell casings and the butt of an AK-47 assault rifle have been recovered along with the bottoms of two gas cylinders.

Asked about Israeli suggestions that the Kenyans are not capable of handling the probe into what is believed to be a terrorist attack, Langat replied, "that is their own perception. Some people may be rude by nature".

Kenyan police on Monday officially revised the number of victims in the terror attack from 12 to 13 three Israelis and 10 Kenyans. Previously they said nine Kenyans died, but a 10th has not been positively identified because only the torso was found. It is believed to be that of the hotel´s assistant manager, who has been missing since the blast last Thursday.

Police said Monday they had interviewed seven witnesses who saw a green Pajero truck drive back and forth along the dirt road in front of the hotel before it crashed and exploded. Most of the witnesses, including those who had the best view of the vehicle said they saw two men inside, not three, as some witnesses had claimed.

Six Pakistani men and four Somali men, who entered Kenyan waters illegally in a wooden boat on November 23, five days before the bombing, were still being held for questioning on Monday. Langat said the men were still being detained because, "the way they came in was rather curious". "They said they were fishing, but they came in empty- handed. Although the men had fishing equipment on board the vessel named Mogadishu, they had no fish nor was any evidence of fish found," said Langat.

But he admitted that the Kenyan authorities have not fully questioned the Pakistani men because they had not found an Urdu language translator.

U.S. President George Bush will meet the Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders later this week to discuss security and strategies for fighting terrorism in the region, according to a newspaper report. The pro- government Kenya Times said Monday that Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will meet Bush later this week.

The meetings were scheduled before last week´s attacks, the newspaper said. (© Copyright 2002 Ha´aretz 12/03/02)

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