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Security sources: Qaida targeting Israeli interests in E. Africa

By Ze'ev Schiff Haaretz July 29, 2003

Fawzal Abdullah Mohammed, a senior activist in
Al-Qaida who is believed responsible for attacks
against Israeli and American targets in Kenya and
Tanzania recently arrived in east Africa and is
plotting an attack with a light aircraft against
an Israeli or American target, say Israeli
security sources. He is on the FBI’s list of most
wanted terrorists.

He is said to be directly
responsibility for the two
attacks in Mombassa, Kenya last
November – a booby trapped car
blew up at the Paradise Hotel,
killing three Israelis and 11
Kenyans and a shoulder-launched
missile was fired at an Arkia
plane. Fawzal Abudllah Mohammed
is is also tied to the plots to
blow up the American embassies in Kenya and
Tanzania in August 1998, where some 250 people
were killed.

Kenyan authorities recent arrested five suspect
Islamic activists but freed them after
interrogation, and there is a direct link
between the five and the Al-Qaida
infrastructure in Kenya, say the sources. The
five were questioned about Al-Qaida intentions
regarding a double attack on the new American
embassy in Nairobi, from land and from the air:
the investigation led to suspicions that the
plotters intended to have a kamikaze pilot
crash a light aircraft at the embassy and at
the same time to send in an explosives-laden
truck. Among the arrested was a director of a
mosque and an Islamic girls’ school.

Al-Qaida’s infrastructure in Kenya clearly was
not damaged after the attacks in Mombassa.
Though two suicide bombers were killed at the
Paradise Hotel, other Al-Qaida activists in
Kenya, including Fawzal Mohammed, continued
their plotting.

As far as Al-Qaida is concerned, there are
preferred targets for attack – in Africa and in
general – American and Israeli targets, and not
only official institutions but tourist sites
that are frequented by citizens of both
countries and tend to be less strictly guarded.

Some governments have instructed their citizens
to avoid visiting Kenya because of concern
about terror. The Americans have pulled some of
their diplomats out of the country and the
Nairobi embassy was temporarily closed, and
flights to Kenya stopped. Britain totally
canceled all flights to Mombassa, and Israel
canceled all flights to Kenya.

Irrespective of the direct connection to
Al-Qaida in eastern Africa, intelligence
services around the world have been
investigating the disappearance of a Boeing 727
from Angola about two months ago. The privately
owned plane did not reach the destination
declared by its operators, and it is not known
where it landed or where it is now. Some
testimony says that before it took off, the
plane underwent renovation, having its seats
removed and the passenger area fitted with fuel
tanks, raising suspicions it could be used for
a terror attack.

Senior Al-Qaida activist Fawzal Abdullah Mohammed is believed to be in East
Africa.
(FBI)

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