Nov. 28, 2002: Terror Attacks in Kenya

Suicide bombers attack an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya.
6:51 | 11/28/11

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Transcript for Nov. 28, 2002: Terror Attacks in Kenya
There were two almost simultaneous attacks at the beach resort in Kenya today aimed at Israelis. Suicide bomber struck an Israeli owned hotel in the city of Mombasa nine Kenyans and three Israelis including two children died as well as the three bombers. At the same time someone fired missiles at an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa they missed. There are questions about who was responsible and we'll get to those but we Begin in Mombasa ABC's Morton -- -- is at the scene. From the air you can see the full extent of the devastation. This is what's left of the paradise hotel. On the ground it's even worse because you can smell the distractions. It's hard to believe that just seconds before the blast people here were having fun. The attack came just minutes after a group of about 100 Israeli tourists had checked into the hotel. A car reportedly driven by three men of Arab description. Tried to drive through the main gate the car was stopped by security guards it reversed then suddenly sped forward heading straight for the heart of the hotel. The car crash through the reception area catching everyone by surprise. According to eyewitness is one of the men jumped out with explosives strapped to his body he blew himself up seconds later the car blew up. The explosion and fireball destroyed the hotel. This Israeli tourist was on her way to her room when it happens. -- -- -- In any event of the week at the harder without him. And I hear I think -- was beaten -- -- -- the panel of people flood that hit him and some of the people that live coming got. Had the bombers struck a few minutes earlier the -- would have been much worse. Many of the tourists were lucky they had already gone to their -- They fled to the safety of the beach away from the raging flames which ultimately got to the hotel. A previously unknown group calling itself the army of Palestine has claimed responsibility. But Kenyon and Israeli officials were quick to point to al-Qaeda as a force behind the attack. Al-Qaeda is believed to avoided -- 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya which killed 224. People. The Kenyan government is urging tourists to remain calm but the mood here tonight is anything but calm. -- seem on the ABC news Mombasa. At about the same time that the bombers attacked the hotel in Mombasa that Israeli chartered airliner was taking off from the Mombasa airport. With nearly 300 people on board they hadn't gotten very far when someone fired a pair of missiles that the plane. ABC's John Yang in Israel tonight has the harrowing story. Of our Kia airlines flight 582. At the Tel Aviv airport. 261. Travelers very lucky and very relieved to be home safe and sound. -- -- -- -- -- -- Everything. Very right. The chartered Boeing 757. Took off for Mombasa shortly after 8 AM about a mile and a half from the end of the runway at an altitude of about 500 feet the pilot felt -- bump. And -- two lines of smoke street -- Just above the left side of the plane not to -- -- It's kinda fair. And rockets or whatever it was. It was a pair of shoulder fired surface to air missiles watcher was found near the airport. Many passengers never noticed anything and those who did were not sure what it. Well what -- you look outside. His home smoke. Besides. Rules dumping one storm with something like that and it was like chicken beef and then it needs with that again. The pilot considered an emergency landing but decided against him the plane had not been hit. It was only hours later that the pilot told passengers they had been fired up some recorded the rest of the flight with video cameras. If we don't make it this woman said the taped message below drugs and look. Israeli fighter jets escorted the plane is -- near the airport and made sure it had not been damaged. At touchdown. -- From a flight -- most welcome announcement. Right. We are -- All these people went to Kenya for vacation. A break from the constant tension and threat of violence here in Israel. And just hours after the plane landed there was a brutal attack in northern Israel. This was Election Day for the ruling Likud Party. Palestinians fired on -- crowd waiting to -- killing at least six Israelis and wounding dozens of others. A very difficult day for his room at home and abroad. John ABC news. Jerusalem the Bush Administration spokesman says it is too soon to conclude that the al-Qaeda network was behind today's attacks. It is probably fair to conclude as one Israeli official did today the quote terror organizations are now able to cause mass casualties anywhere. And everywhere. Our chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross is joining us now. Brian al-Qaeda has struck before in Kenya but the fact that these attacks were aimed at Israelis might suggest Hamas or Hezbollah so who's the prime suspect. -- -- -- -- officials are closely watching the developments to see if in fact this was the attack on Israelis and Israeli interest that Osama bin Laden threatened several weeks ago. Al-Qaeda has an extensive network in Africa and in fact Mombasa with the staging area for the 1998 attack on the US embassy in Kenya. But officials also say it could just as easily be an attack staged by the Lebanese based Hezbollah. A sworn enemy of Israel which also has an extensive network inside Africa so -- the -- be working in concert -- It's not impossible there have been reports the two groups had -- in the last six months to discuss possible coordinated attacks. Against Israeli or US targets but shoulder fired surface to air missile two of them. Used what does that suggest. Well both Hezbollah and al-Qaeda have used and trained with such equipment. They were used by the Afghan fighters against Russian airplanes in Afghanistan. It is a rather primitive piece of technology designed by the Soviets. Manufactured widely by egyptians about the Chinese. If they had used the more sophisticated heat seeking stinger missile. Those would certainly have not have missed they are heat seeking and laser guided.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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