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'Al-Qaeda' Message Claims Responsibility for Kenya


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'Al-Qaida' message claims responsibility for Kenya attacks

Staff and agencies

Tuesday December 3, 2002

An internet message purportedly posted by al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for last week's terrorist attacks in Kenya.

The message was posted yesterday in Arabic on the Islamist site azfalrasas.com, which approximately translates as "melody of gunfire".

The site calls itself the first jihad-related chatroom on the internet, and the author of the message on Kenya is registered as "Bin Laden the Islamic fighter".

In the message, a group claiming to be the "political office of Qaida al-jihad" said it had carried out last week's attacks on an Israeli hotel and an airliner in Kenya.

"At the same place where the 'Jewish Crusader coalition' was hit four years ago ... here the fighters of al-Qaida came back once again to strike heavily against that evil coalition," the statement said, referring to the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, not far down the coast from Mombasa.

Unlike four years ago, when the US was the target in Kenya, the statement said this time the message was for Jews.

It was impossible to verify the veracity of the internet claim. In Washington, US counterterrorism officials said they considered it credible and part of growing evidence that al-Qaida was involved in the Kenya attacks.

The message said: "We send [Jews] a message: Your practices in corrupting the Earth, occupying sacred places, criminal acts against our families in Palestine ... all your practices will not pass peacefully without firing back.

"Your children for ours, your women for ours, your elders for ours ... And in return for (your) siege on lives and livelihoods, a siege of fear and terror that we will impose on you wherever you are, land, sea or air."

It pledged that further attacks would be carried out, saying "it is a war between faith and the infidel, between right and wrong, between justice and injustice".

The statement called the US-led war on terrorism "fragile," saying fighters successfully attacked the Kenya hotel "at a time when the whole world stands against them, and indeed is hunting them".

The only other claim of responsibility came shortly after Thursday's attacks, made in a fax to news organisations in Beirut from the previously unknown Army of Palestine. Palestinian officials have denied any involvement by Palestinian groups.

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