Kenya has rejected Israeli demands to turn over some evidence in Thursday’s attacks on an Israeli-owned hotel and an Israeli jetliner, which killed 15 people, including 10 Kenyans. The U.S. and Israel has questioned Kenya’s ability to carry out a thorough investigation.
The Israeli Mossad, the CIA, and the Kenyan intelligence agencies are working together to determine who is behind this bombing. U.S. officials said last week that the top suspect was the Somali-based group Al-Itihad al-Islamiya, known also as AIAI or the Islamic Union.
But an article in today’s Christian Science Monitor raises questions if Al-Itihad was behind the attacks. “The facts don’t add up,” Theodoros Dagne, a specialist on African affairs at the Congressional Research Service in Washington told the Monitor. “The last time Al Ittihad carried out terror attacks was in 1996-97 in Ethiopia. They have never targeted Western powers, the US or its allies.” He adds that “Somalis don’t blow themselves up. This is a Middle East trademark. They shoot, they kill. But never a suicide bombing.” Furthermore, he adds, if the Somalis had such missiles in their possession–they would have used them over the years. “I don’t think it’s them.”
The Monitor reports that Kenya has long had good relations with both the US and Israel: In June 1976, Kenya provided crucial assistance to the Israeli army as it raided the Entebbe airport in neighboring Uganda to free the passengers of an Air France plane hijacked by Palestinians. The Norfolk hotel blast is believed to have been in retaliation for that assistance. The American military has also operated out of Kenya, most notably during the 1991 Gulf war. For the past year, German and British surveillance planes have been using Mombasa as a base as they search for Al Qaeda fugitives in the seas off Somalia.
We’ll go to Mombassa to talk with Danna Harman, staff reporter with the Christian Science Monitor.
- Danna Harman, African correspondent with the Christian Science Monitor who has been reporting from Mombasa.