Egyptian Terror-master Fazul Commanded Mombasa Attacks

The al Qaeda network that carried out the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Daar es Salaam is also responsible for the twin attacks last Thursday, November 28, on the Israeli-owned Mombassa Paradise hotel at Kikamabala, and for the missile strike that missed an Arkia Boeing 757 after it took off from Mombasa airfield for Tel Aviv with 260 passengers aboard. They even had the same commander, Abdullah Mohammed Fazul.
The embassy bombings left 224 dead and 5,000 injured.
The Mombassa hotel attack killed thirteen people, three of them Israelis – two young boys and the tour guide, and injured 80, including the boys’ mother. The missile strike missed its mark.
debkafile military, intelligence and counter-terror sources report that the mixed FBI-CIA-Mossad-Kenyan police investigating team has already picked up a trail leading to two master planners: Fazul, the leader of al Qaeda’s East African cells since 1995, and his lieutenant Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah (aka Abu Mohammed al-Masri), who was indicted in absentia by an American court for the embassy bombings. Both are senior members of al Qaeda’s operational arm, the Egyptian Jihad Islami.
In 1995, the pair took part in a failed attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak by hurling RPG rockets and explosives at the presidential convoy on its way from the Addis Ababa airport to the venue of a summit of African leaders in the Ethiopian capital.
A year later, on November 23, 1996, Fazul masterminded the hijack of Ethiopian Airlines flight 961 between the Ethiopian capital and Nairobi. The airliner came down with empty fuel tanks 500 yards from Galawa Beach at the Indian Ocean Islamic Republic of the Comoros Islands.
Only 48 of the 127 passengers survived the attack. The victims included seven Israelis: Shraga Bar Nissan, Amram Ben David, Gad Levi, Eli Levkovitch, Yehuda Soroka – heads of Israel’s Aircraft Industries, Yehezkiel Raz, executive of ECI Communications, and Yaacov Bar-On, member of an elite anti-terror unit, who was traveling under cover as an engineering student.
CIA officer Leslie-Ann Shedd, head of the US Horn of Africa operation, was also murdered in the attack, together with the head of Ukrainian intelligence.
To this day, none of the three governments concerned, American, Israeli and Ukrainian, admits the Ethiopian Airways hijack was a well-planned al Qaeda attack, that there was a firefight aboard the airliner and that the victims were deliberately murdered.
The Mombasa attacks were therefore not the first ever mounted by al Qaeda against Israeli targets.
After the landing at the Comoros, the terrorist gang vanished without trace. Fazul resumed his alias as a poor fisherman living in the Comoran capital of Moroni until 1998, when he reappeared as planner and commander of the terrorist bombings that ravaged the US embassies in the Kenyan and Ethiopian capitals. A special FBI task force reaching the home of the man who drove the bomb car into the Nairobi embassy found Fazul’s Moroni telephone number. With permission from the Comoran government, the American agents raided Fazul’s home in early September 1998, only to find the bird had flown. The searchers were left with information on the two attacks on computers and hard disks that may have been decoys.
Four years later, earlier this month, US and Israeli intelligence received reports – mainly from German, Ethiopian and Kenyan sources, corroborated by American special forces on the ground – that Fazul and Abdullah had been spotted on the move in early October in the Jubbada Hoose and Gedo regions of West Somalia bordering on Kenya.
Our experts report that a heavy concentration of al Qaeda terrorists lives in the fishing villages along the eastern coast of Somalia between Kismoayo port and Ras Kaambooni, near the Kenya border. Among them are several hundred extremists who fought in Afghanistan in the winter of 2001 and early 2002. This strip is not controlled by the Somali extremist group Al Ittihad al Islamiya. Contrary to various reports, the team that struck twice in Mombasa last Thursday is not hiding under Ittihad protection. Al Qaeda and Egyptian Jihad Islami operatives prefer to throw off pursuit and preserve their operational autonomy by scattering among the Somali population and the swarming local religious militias and cells. They rarely operate from Ittihad bases, except in the Baydhabo region, which is far from the Kenyan border.
Read second article in this series: Initial findings of International Mombasa probe

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