Serial numbers show link between attacks in Kenya, Saudi Arabia - Missiles are likely from same shipment, U.S. investigators say (NATIONAL POST) Stewart Bell 12/04/02)
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The missiles used in last week´s terrorist attacks in Kenya came from
the same shipment fired at U.S. aircraft in Saudi Arabia in May, U.S.
officials said yesterday, feeding speculation al-Qaeda was behind the
Four days after unknown terrorists blew up an Israeli-owned resort
near Mombasa and fired heat-seeking missiles at a Tel Aviv-bound
plane, there was mounting evidence of al-Qaeda involvement --
including a new claim of responsibility.
"The fighters of al-Qaeda return to the same place where the Crusader-
Jewish coalition was hit four years ago," said the statement, an
apparent reference to al-Qaeda´s August, 1998, bombing of the U.S.
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
It urged Muslims to "turn the land into a hell under the feet" of
Americans and Jews and to prevent U.S. forces from attacking
Iraq. "Resist him with all means until he feels that no land will
accept him," it said.
The statement, which was sent to at least one news outlet in the
Persian Gulf, was signed by the "Political Office of Qaeda al-Jihad,"
although its authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.
Following last Thursday´s attacks in Kenya, a group calling itself
the Army of Palestine faxed a statement to a Lebanese news outlet
taking credit, but authorities have suspected all along that al-Qaeda
or one of its regional affiliates was responsible.
A U.S. official said yesterday the serial numbers of the two SA-7
surface-to-air missile launchers recovered by investigators near
Mombasa airport were close to those on SA-7s found outside Prince
Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia after what was believed to be an
unsuccessful attempt by al-Qaeda to shoot down a U.S. aircraft.
The serial numbers were not sequential "but they are close to each
other, leading one to believe that they might have come from a
similar source," the official said. "They are close enough to each
other to believe they are probably from the same general lot.
"It doesn´t necessarily take you to [the conclusion] that al-Qaeda
must, therefore, be responsible for the Kenya thing. They could
easily pass weapons off to other groups that they were supportive
of," he said. "But it certainly adds to the perception that they may
well be behind it."
Suicide bombers detonated powerful explosives at the Paradise Hotel
on Nov. 28, killing 10 Kenyans, three Israeli tourists and the three
bombers. At about the same time, two missiles were fired at an
Israeli charter plane carrying 271 passengers but they skimmed over
Because of the targets and the high level of planning and co-
ordination involved, experts have suggested it was the work of either
al-Qaeda or one of its local branches, such as the Somali Al-Itihaad
al-Islamiya (Unity of Islam). Kenyan police are holding four Somalis
and six Pakistanis for questioning. (© Copyright 2002 National Post
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