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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 16:55 GMT
Three arrested over Kenyan attacks
Investigators measure a Pajero - the same model used in the bomb attack on Paradise Hotel
The four-wheel-drive was packed with explosives
Kenyan police are questioning three new suspects in connection with last week's attacks on Israeli targets near the coastal resort of Mombasa.

Two "Kenyans of Arabic origin" were arrested over the failed missile attack on a plane taking tourists back to Israel, police say.

A man police describe as the owner of the car used by suicide bombers to blow up the Paradise Hotel has also been detained.

Open in new window : Mombasa voices
Kenyans react to terror attacks

US President George W Bush said on Wednesday that he believed Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network was involved in the two attacks.

At least 15 people - including 3 Israelis, nine Kenyans and the bombers - died when a Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive drove into the reception area of the Paradise hotel and was detonated.

'Significant breakthrough'

Deputy Police Commissioner William Langat said the registered owner of the vehicle was arrested on Tuesday, and told investigators he had sold it to men of Arab origin.

The latest arrests brings to 13 the number of people arrested in connection with the attack.

Rescue workers recover a body
The attack was a blow to Kenya's tourist industry

Mr Langat said the names of the two buyers were not mentioned in the agreement, and police were trying to establish whether they were among the suicide bombers who died in the attack.

The commissioner called the arrests a significant breakthrough in the investigations.

The 10 who had already been arrested are believed to include Pakistanis and Somalis.

On Monday a statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claimed responsibility for the attack.

'Credible' claim

In Washington, US officials have already said they are considering as credible a web-based claim that al-Qaeda was responsibile for the Mombasa attacks.

President Bush himself told reporters on Wednesday he believed al-Qaeda was involved.

"I believe al-Qaeda hates freedom. I believe al-Qaeda will strike anywhere they can in order to disrupt civil society," Mr Bush said.

Shortly after the attack on the hotel, a missile attack on an Israeli passenger plane taking off from Mombasa airport failed.

According to reports last week, two men of Middle Eastern appearance shot missiles at the plane carrying 260 passengers from a car parked close to the airport.

Mr Langat said there was no information on a second four-wheel drive that was seen driving away from the airport.

Israeli officials have complained that Kenya lacks the facilities and expertise to investigate Thursday's attacks properly.

In Nairobi, the British High Commission in Kenya has been evacuating its staff from its building in Nairobi after a threat was received.

Spokesman Mark Norton would not elaborate on the nature of the threat but he said it was specific and was being treated seriously.

He says staff had been instructed to go home.

He said the High Commission was not expected to open on Thursday.

The BBC's Matt Prodger
"British officials will only say there has been a specific threat"

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See also:

03 Dec 02 | Africa
03 Dec 02 | Media reports
02 Dec 02 | Africa
02 Dec 02 | Africa
29 Nov 02 | Africa
30 Nov 02 | South Asia
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