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Investigation Continuing into Bombing Attack in Kenya - 2002-12-02


The investigation is continuing into the attacks on Israelis in Kenya last week. Israeli bomb experts are planning to take some fragments from Kenya's bombed out Paradise Hotel back to Israel for forensic examination. Meanwhile, Kenyan investigators are trying to work out how the suicide bombers acquired the car they used in the attack.

The head of Kenya's investigation team says Kenyan, Israeli, and U.S. bomb experts are sifting through the debris of the Paradise Hotel looking for clues.

There have been reports that a dispute has broken out between the Kenyan and Israeli teams over who should control evidence from the blast.

The United States has voiced concern about Kenya's ability to carry out a comprehensive investigation.

The Israelis now want to take some fragments home to Israel, where they have more sophisticated analysis equipment.

But the lead Kenyan investigator, William Langat, said relations among the investigating teams are amicable and Kenya has agreed to Israel's request. "Nothing. That is just imaginary tension by other people. Nothing at all. I have been with these officers on the ground. There are no complaints. Whatever small pieces they want to go and examine, they examine on their own. We also examine on our own, other pieces. They can have whatever they want to go for forensic examination," he said.

Investigators have found parts of the four wheel drive vehicle and the bomb it carried Thursday to destroy the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, 30 kilometers from the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.

Israel plans to take home two pieces of metal from a gas cylinder used in the bomb. One of the pieces had four digits on it that experts believe are part of a serial number that might identify the source of the cylinder.

Israel also wants to carry out further analysis on two shoulder-held missile launchers, which were used in a simultaneous attack on an Israeli-charter plane leaving Mombasa. The missiles missed their target.

Mr. Langat said Kenyan authorities are trying to find out how the suicide bombers acquired the four-wheel drive vehicle used in the attack. "The last known owner of the car was a foreigner. Whoever was having it is not immediately around. He left the country and we do not know to whom he left it with. It is only a matter of time. You know, it does not come as a flash," he said.

Israel and the United States believe the terrorist attacks were the work of the Somali Al-Itihad Islamic group, which they say has links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Mr. Langat said there is no evidence to confirm those suspicions.

Meanwhile, a DNA test is being carried out on an unidentified body found on the bomb site. The body could be that of one of the Paradise Hotel's managers who has been missing since the attack.

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