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Kenya Claims Progress in Hotel Bombing Probe - 2003-03-03

Kenyan authorities say they are making progress in capturing the terrorists who bombed a hotel at the Kenyan coastal resort of Mombasa last November.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Kalonzo Musyoka made the announcement Monday during a ceremony for the opening of the new United States Embassy in Nairobi. Mr. Musyoki said Kenya was working with the United States and other nations to combat terrorism.

"I wish to take this opportunity to assure members of the diplomatic corps resident in Kenya that the government of Kenya will spare no effort in ensuring your security and that of the Kenyan people," Mr. Musyoka said. "Law enforcement agents are making progress toward bringing to book the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks at the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa."

Last November, terrorists drove a vehicle filled with explosives into the Israeli-owned hotel, killing 15 people. At approximately the same time as the hotel bombing, there was an unsuccessful rocket attack on an Israeli charter plane as it was taking off from Mombasa airport.

The new U.S. embassy, surrounded by more than six hectares of land, is the biggest and most modern American embassy in Africa south of the Sahara and can accommodate a staff of close to 1,000, including 750 Kenyans and 240 Americans.

The new embassy was built to replace the embassy that was destroyed during the 1998 terrorist attack in Nairobi that killed more than 200 people and injured over 5,000.

The U.S. undersecretary of state for management, Grant Green, spoke at the opening of the new facility, telling the audience that the building is a sign of the U.S. commitment to Kenya.

"This facility, state of the art, ultra secure, is among the finest chancery buildings in the world," Mr. Green said. "Instead of scaling back our efforts in Kenya and ceding ground to the terrorists, this beautiful new building demonstrates our resolve to enhance our engagement with the government and with the people of Kenya and the East Africa region."

Undersecretary Green said the United States government would continue to work with the government of Kenya to combat terrorism. The embassy, which is located near the headquarters of the United Nations offices in Nairobi, becomes fully operational in two weeks.