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12/10/02 - AL-QAIDA AND THE KENYA ATTACKS - 2002-12-10


In a meeting with Kenya's president, Daniel arap Moi, and Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, President George W. Bush warned that "if the terrorists could strike Kenya, they could strike Ethiopia, they could strike in Europe. And that means we must continue this war, to hunt these killers down." Prime Minister Meles said that "the war against terrorism is a war against people who. . . have values and ideas that are contrary to the values of the twenty-first century."

Kenya has suffered greatly from al-Qaida terrorism. On November 28th, a car packed with explosives blew up the Paradise Hotel near Mombasa. The attack killed ten Kenyans and three Israeli tourists. Eighty people were wounded. Several minutes earlier, two portable missiles fired from the ground narrowly missed a passenger plane filled with Israeli tourists. President Bush said, the al-Qaida terrorist network "was involved in the African bombings in Kenya."

On August 7, 1998, al-Qaida terrorists simultaneously bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. More than two hundred men, women, and children were killed and some five thousand were wounded, most of them Kenyans, in the Nairobi attack. The attack in Dar es Salaam killed ten Tanzanians and wounded seventy-six others.

Little more than two months before the Africa embassy bombings, the head of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, called on his followers to kill Americans and Jews. "We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets," he said.

A major target of terrorist groups is Israel. "I fully understand the Israeli government's attempt to stamp out terror, because we'll never have peace so long as terrorists are able to disrupt," said President Bush. "The net effect of terrorism is to not only stop the peace process, but is to cause suffering amongst all the people of the region." That's why, Mr. Bush said, "our war against terror. . . must remain steadfast and strong." No matter how long it takes, the U.S. will find the al-Qaida and other terrorists, said President Bush, "and we're going to bring them to justice."

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