Follow-up to yesterday…

Well, it looks like the attack threatened yesterday happened – but mercifully didn’t go off as planned. Details here. The big one wasn’t the car bomb at the hotel, but notice a couple of other things:

  • Two Stinger missiles (shoulder-mounted heat-seekers) were fired at a B757 as it was taking off from Mombasa airport. This would have been the first successful destruction of a passenger aircraft, not from aboard the craft but from the ground.
  • There are also rumors (debka, so take with some grain of salt) that aircraft strafed the hotel building in Kenya which was bombed.
  • There were four major, synchronized attacks: The aircraft strike, the Kenya bombing, the attack at the polling place in Israel, and a nearby major car bomb. (Which failed to detonate) Multiple widely separated, synchronized attacks are a classic al Qaeda calling card. (cf. Sept. 11, or the embassy bombings a few years ago)

So yes, sometimes it pays to be paranoid. One interesting point of analysis from debka: “The Mombasa attacks like the Bali bombing targeted exotic tourist spots frequented by Western vacationers – focusing on Australians in the first and Israelis in the second. “

Published in: on November 28, 2002 at 10:44  Comments (7)  
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  1. From the New York Times article, I gathered that the Kenya attacks (the missile attack and the hotel bombing) are considered the work of al Qaeda, while the shooting and attempted car bomb in Israel are considered the work of Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a Palestinian group.
    I’m not sure there’s any evidence of connection between the two. It’s both an election day in Israel and Thanksgiving, so it’s not a huge coincidence that they happened the same day.

  2. Thanksgiving…
    is it celebrated in Australia or Israel?
    I’m not really sure this is connected.

  3. Re: Thanksgiving…
    I don’t think Thanksgiving had anything to do with it; the sync dates for these things tend to be chosen by the attacker’s logic, not the defender’s. My best guess is that the Kenya attacks were purely al Qaeda (via some new splinter group) and the Israeli attacks were the al Aqsa group, but that al Qaeda people made some effort to sync with them for maximum attention.

  4. Do you think this is the event you were having a bad feeling about a couple of weeks ago, at the party?

  5. A friend sent me this link the other day. Then I read your LJ post and within half an hour or so I read about the Stinger Missile attacks at Google. We live in a strange world.
    btw. It’s nice to “meet” you online. I’m in Biophysics at Harvard. I did my MSc in CS (with two Quantum Computing pioneers.) Some of us wonder if string theory will lead to a more powerful computing model. I’ll be in your area in January…

  6. In terms of politics? Well, it’s probably part of it. But I can’t remember which specific thing I was worried about last week… (yes, it’s been one of those weeks)

  7. *laugh* Well, at the party at and ‘s, you suddenly paused mid-conversation and said you had a bad feeling about something in the near future, and you were trying to remember the schedule of political events for the next couple of weeks.
    But to hear it’s been “one of those weeks,” eesh.

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