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Kenya Frees American-Spanish Couple Held in Connection with Hotel Bombing - 2002-11-30


An American woman and her Spanish husband have been freed in Kenya, after two days of questioning about Thursday's terrorist attack on an Israeli-owned hotel near the port city of Mombasa, in which 15 people died. At least 10 other suspects are still being held.

The American woman, Alicia Kalhammer, of Florida, and her husband, Jose Tena from Madrid, were released from Mombasa police station Saturday.

The couple said they were interrogated three times about their identities and whether they had any possible connection to Thursday's terrorist attacks.

The Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel, in Kikambala, 30 kilometers from Mombasa, was destroyed by suicide bombers Thursday morning.

At the same time, two missiles were fired at an Israeli Arkia airliner flying out of Mombasa International Airport, but missed their target.

Kenyan Internal Security Minister Julius Sunkuli said he did not think the couple had any connection with the attacks.

The American-Spanish couple was detained Thursday, while hurriedly checking out of Le Soleil Beach Club, several kilometers from the Paradise Hotel, just after the bombing.

Other suspects were still being held for questioning. Among these are Somalis and Pakistanis, who were arrested on suspicion of entering Kenya illegally.

Investigators are trying to find the owner of the Mitsubishi Pajero vehicle used by the suicide bombers. Its engine and registration numbers were found in the rubble of the hotel.

The previously unknown Army of Palestine group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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