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Israelis Arrive in Kenya to Help Investigate Terror Attack - 2002-11-29

Dozens of Israeli officials have arrived in Kenya, to assist in the aftermath of Thursday's terrorist attack on an Israeli-owned hotel on the Kenyan coast.

Five Israeli planes full of doctors and medical equipment were flown to Kenya to assist the injured. Israeli defense forces and Mossad secret service agents also came to help with investigations.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Gilad Millo, says all of the Israeli tourists who were victims of Thursday's terrorist attack on Paradise Hotel in Kikambala are now back home in Israel.

Mr. Millo spoke to reporters at the scene of the blast. "Approximately 250 people have been evacuated," he said. "Among those, between 18 and 20 injured and three dead bodies, two of them children - brothers aged 12 and 16."

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and several other senior politicians visited the site of the bomb blast Friday afternoon.

The leader of the opposition, Mwai Kibaki, strongly condemned the attack. "These terrorists, they are killing innocent people, and no one should have any sympathy whatsoever with people of that type," he said. "As a nation, we have to join with all others in the world in fighting against this kind of terrorism."

The Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel was blown up Thursday morning. Three suicide bombers in a four-wheel drive vehicle rammed their way through a barrier and into the hotel's reception. The vehicle exploded, and the whole hotel went up in flames.

Israeli and Kenyan investigators were at Paradise Hotel all day Friday, examining remaining fragments of the vehicle and explosives for clues.

The Paradise Hotel is in Kikambala, 30 kilometers from the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.

At about the same time as the explosion, two missiles were fired at an Israeli Arkia airliner, as it was leaving Mombasa International Airport. The missiles narrowly missed their target, and the plane continued safely on its journey to Israel.

Kenyan police have taken 12 suspects into custody for questioning, including three foreigners.

Kenya was the site of another terrorism attack four years ago, when the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi was blown up, killing more than 200 people.