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1998 U.S. embassy bombings

Bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi
Bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi

On August 7, 1998, the United States embassies in the East African capital cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, were severely damaged in nearly simultaneous truck bomb attacks. The bombings killed 213 people in Nairobi and a dozen in Dar es Salaam. An estimated 4000 were injured in the Kenyan capital and 85 in Dar es Salaam. Almost all of the victims were African civilians, as well as several US diplomats.

The attacks were linked to local members of the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden. It was this terrorist incident that first brought bin Laden and al Qaeda to international notoriety, and led to the FBI's placing him on the agency's Ten Most Wanted List.

While the attacks were aimed at American embassies, the vast majority of the victims were Africans: twelve Americans (in Nairobi) and 32 Kenyan and eight Tanzanian Embassy employees were killed. The remainder of the dead were visitors, passers-by, or people in neighboring buildings: the Nairobi embassy lay in a busy downtown location, while the embassy in Dar es Salaam was further from the city center.

In response to these bombings, on August 20 1998, U.S. President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan.

Investigations into the embassy bombings were conducted by the FBI and Kenyan and Tanzanian authorities. A list of suspects was drawn up and several men were charged with complicity in the bombings. In an event that angered many involved in the investigation, a court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declared on November 20 1998 that Osama bin Laden was a "a man without a sin" in regard to the bombing.


Conspirators still at large

Conspirators in custody

  • Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali , Mohammed Odeh , Wadih el Hage, and Khalfan Khamis Mohamed : convicted in New York City for the Nairobi bombing, and sentenced in June 2001 to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Ibrahim Hussein Abdel Hadi Eidarous and Adel Mohanned Abdul Almagid Bary : Egyptian citizens arrested in London in 1999 by Scotland Yard by request of the U.S. Their fingerprints were allegedly found on the letters claiming responsibility for the bombings. They were extradicted to the U.S.
  • Khalid al Fawwaz : a Saudi dissident living in London since 1994, was accused by the U.S. of helping bin Laden to coordinate the attacks. He denied the charges but was ordered to be extradicted to the U.S. He remains in custody in London pending an appeal. [1] [2]
  • Anas Al-Liby: Captured in Afghanistan in 2002.
  • Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani: Believed to have been captured in Pakistan in 2004.
  • Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri: His brother was one of the suicide bombers, and he helped another of the bombers to get a Yemeni passport. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. at an undisclosed location.

Conspirators that are believed to be dead

External links

See also terrorism, terrorist incidents.

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45