Sabahi (Washington, DC)

20 March 2014

Kenya: Al-Qaeda-Trained Terrorists Believed to Be Behind Thwarted Mombasa Attack

Photo: Capital FM
Rising smoke from the Westgate mall following heavy gunfire and blasts.

Security and intelligence forces in Mombasa are racing to track down 11 suspects believed to have ties to al-Qaeda after a car bomb was intercepted earlier this week, Mombasa County police Commander Robert Kitur told Sabahi Thursday (March 20th).

The search comes two days after police arrested two men who were illegally driving a vehicle in Mombasa that was later discovered to be packed with explosives, and one day after police announced the arrest of the "mastermind" of the foiled attack.

The Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) have stepped up their operation to locate other potential truck bombs and the garages where they may have been assembled, Kenya's Daily Nation reported, while Kitur said a security team is tracking down at least six suspected al-Qaeda operatives.

"We have strong evidence that the three suspects in [police] custody are part of 9 or 11 terrorists that are planning attack in Kenya," Mombasa County police Commander Robert Kitur told Sabahi. "We are in a race against time to get the rest and their accomplices before they commit violence or escape from the country."

The 11 suspects reportedly entered Kenya earlier this month after being trained by al-Qaeda, according to Kenya's The Standard.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, The Standard reported that Kenyan fugitive Fuad Abubakar Manswab, who has links with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was believed to be behind the planned attacks.

Fuad, who is facing terrorism charges in absentia alongside Briton Jermaine Grant, is said to have fled to Somalia after jumping bail about two years ago.

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