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Al-Qaida Responsible for Kenya Attack, Says Bush - 2002-12-04


President Bush says he believes al-Qaida terrorists were responsible for last week's attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya. Kenyan authorities are holding more than a dozen people in connection with the attack which killed 16 people including the suicide bombers.

President Bush says al-Qaida terrorists had a hand in last week's nearly simultaneous bombing of a resort hotel at the Kenyan coast and a failed missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet. "I believe that al-Qaida was involved in the African bombings in Kenya," said President Bush. "I believe al-Qaida hates freedom. I believe al-Qaida will strike anywhere they can in order to disrupt civil society and that's why we are on the hunt."

The president says he will continue that hunt until al-Qaida's terrorist network is dismantled and all its members are brought to justice. He says the international coalition against terrorism is making progress "slowly but surely." "The free world recognizes the threats that we all face, and therefore we are more bound together than we have ever been in cutting off money, in sharing intelligence, and bringing people to justice," he said. "It is a dangerous world we live in because there are still terrorists on the loose."

The president is expected to discuss the ongoing investigation into last week's bombing during a White House meeting Thursday with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. They will be joined in a discussion of security in East Africa by Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi.

A statement attributed to al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the blast at the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel. The explosion killed 10 Kenyans, three Israelis and the three attackers. Minutes earlier, two shoulder-launched missiles were fired at an Israeli-chartered passenger plane leaving the port city of Mombassa, narrowly missing their target.

Washington also blames al-Qaida for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as last year's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

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