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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 20:46 GMT
Kenyan police find Mombasa missiles
Kenyan TV pictures of the missile launcher
Experts identified the launcher as a Sam 7 Strela-2
Kenyan police have found two missiles fired at an Israeli airliner shortly after it took off last week.

A police spokesman said the missiles - one of them still live - were recovered from farmland about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the port city of Mombasa.


We will use the recovered missiles to determine their source, manufacturers and all other details

William Langat, police spokesman
They narrowly missed their target - an Arkia airline charter flight taking Israeli tourists from Mombasa to Tel Aviv.

But a simultaneous attack succeeded when three suicide bombers killed 13 people, three of them Israelis, at the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel near Mombasa.

Police are questioning a number of people in connection with the attacks.

The New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch has accused police in Kenya of using the Mombasa attacks as an excuse to crack down on refugees in Nairobi.

Tracing origins

"Police have found the missiles, which missed the plane, in a maize farm, some 10-12 kilometres from where they were fired," near Mombasa airport, deputy Police Commissioner William Langat said.

He said one unexploded missile was recovered deep underground - but only a part of the second had been found and police were looking for the missing part.

Somali refugees in Kenya
There are thousands of Somalis in Kenya
"We will use the recovered missiles to determine their source, manufacturers and all other details," Mr Langat added.

Officials have already found the launchers discarded at the firing site near the airport and identified them as Strela-2 surface-to-air missiles launchers made in the Soviet Union.

The Arkia airline plane - a Boeing 757 carrying 261 passengers - landed safely at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv after being shot at shortly after take off.

An Islamist website published a statement purportedly from al-Qaeda claiming responsibility for both attacks.

Refugee fears

Fourteen people have been arrested in connection with the Mombasa attacks, which US President George W Bush has blamed on al-Qaeda.


Acts of violence, however terrible, never justify a government round-up of refugees

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch said that since 28 November, when the attacks took place, Kenyan police had conducted three large raids and made "dozens of arbitrary arrests," detaining refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The authorities "have made no official link between the Mombasa attacks and this group of detained refugees in Nairobi," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"To our knowledge, no refugee was charged with criminal acts or terrorist-related activities."

After one raid, on 29 November, 54 Sudanese and Congolese refugees spent the night in "deplorable" conditions at Muthangari police station in Nairobi, the report said, quoting an official from the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

The UNHCR was not allowed access to the refugees until midday on 30 November, when the refugees with documents were released, Human Rights Watch said.


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03 Dec 02 | Africa
02 Dec 02 | Africa
30 Nov 02 | South Asia
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