Al-Qaeda threatens more Mombasa-style attacks in new web claim
Sunday, 08-Dec-2002 8:30AM Story from AFP / Habib Trabelsi
Copyright 2002 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
DUBAI, Dec 8 (AFP) - The al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden threatened more attacks on Israeli and US targets in a fresh claim of responsibility Sunday for last month's attacks in Kenya which killed 13 people.
"The two Mombasa attacks are the work of al-Qaeda," the group's spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith said in a voice recording posted on the jehadonline.org Islamist website.
"The Crusader-Jewish alliance will no longer be immune from attack anywhere, " Abu Ghaith warned.
"We are going to strike at its vital installations and strategic interests with all means at our disposal," he said, calling on al-Qaeda fighters to "prepare themselves seriously for the next phase which will be bigger and more serious.
"We must use shock weapons against the enemy, by mounting lightning well-targetted operations against him everywhere in the world so that he feels danger, insecurity and instability on land, at sea and in the air," the al-Qaeda spokesman said.
Three Israelis and 10 Kenyans were killed when three suicide bombers struck a resort hotel near the Kenyan port city of Mombasa on November 28, shortly after a failed missile attack on an Israeli jetliner packed with returning holidaymakers.
The al-Qaeda spokesman said the movement was taking the new step of formally claiming responsibility for the twin attacks because it had succeeded in regrouping in the face of the US-led campaign against it that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
"The nature of our activity stopped us from claiming our jihad (holy war) operations against the Crusader alliance in the previous phase, but now we find ourselves in better circumstances which allow us to do so," said Abu Ghaith.
Al-Qaeda experts had cast doubt on an earlier claim of responsibility for the Mombasa attacks carried by jehadonline.org and another Islamist website, islammemo.com, on December 2, noting that the organization had previously limited itself to welcoming the operations of its militants.
"Al-Qaeda has never directly claimed responsibility for operations carried out by its militants, making do with hailing the attacks," one analyst told AFP at the time, although he accepted that the new statement might presage a change of tactics by the organization.
In Sunday's statement, the al-Qaeda spokesman, who was stripped of his Kuwaiti nationality in 2001, singled out growing US war preparations against Iraq as a particular target for the group's operations.
"The danger of what America and its allies are preparing against Iraq and its people is not limited to overthrowing the infidel regime and its dictator but is aimed at ... Balkanising this great country, pillaging its wealth and occupying a vital part of our Arab world," said Abu Ghaith.
He charged that the allies' ultimate goal was to fulfil the hardline Zionist "dream of a greater Israel stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates".
US intelligence has waged a no-holds-barred war against Islamist websites suspected of links to al-Qaeda for fear they are being used to send out orders to the group's operatives around the world.
The one long regarded as the most reliable -- drasat.com -- has been shut down as have two others which, like jehadonline and islammemo, have posted statements attributed to al-Qaeda -- alneda.com and azzam.com.
The result has been occasional uncertainty about the authenticity of the statements that they carry.
Two days after al-Qaeda's earlier claim of responsibility for the Mombasa attacks, US President George W. Bush said: "I believe al-Qaeda was involved in the African bombings," although his spokesman Ari Fleischer later clarified that he had not meant he was certain.
Sunday's recording by Abu Ghaith can be consulted at the following address: jehadonline.org/jehad-news/article.php?ID=409.