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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 26 August, 1998, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
The trail of evidence
Osama Bin Laden map
The trail of evidence led the US to Osama Bin Laden's Afghan camps
A trail of evidence, beginning with the arrest of a Palestinian in Pakistan, led the US to target two sites in Afghanistan and Sudan.

When the almost simultaneous bombs went off in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam there was no warning and US intelligence was caught completely unawares.

The CIA and the FBI quickly began seeking those responsible for the double blast which had claimed the lives of 257 people.

Lucky break in Karachi

Their big break apparently came with the arrest in Pakistan of a 33-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Saddiq Odeh.

He is believed to have confessed within hours to working for Osama bin Laden, the Afghanistan-based Saudi millionaire who is fast becoming America's worst nightmare.

Odeh was extradited to Kenya on August 14 and led police to the Hilltop Hotel, near Nairobi, where at least one of the bombs was apparently assembled.

Hilltop Hotel
The Hilltop Hotel...where one of the bombs was assembled
Our correspondent says it was at this point that the Sudanese connection was made.

Seven main conspirators

A senior Pakistani official said on Thursday Odeh had told he was one of seven people who masterminded the East African bombing. He flew out of Kenya on the day of the explosion and was arrested when he arrived in Karachi.

Eagle-eyed immigration officials noticed he did not match his Yemeni passport photograph.

The conspirators left behind a plan, two bombs and a group of hired Kenyan and Tanzanian agents who carried out the attacks.

Odeh's co-conspirators are believed to have slipped back into Afghanistan in the days after the bombings.

He reportedly told investigators in Pakistan he designed the explosives used in the Dar es Salaam attack.

The Shifa plant near Khartoum map
It is not clear what evidence led the US to target the Shifa plant
He told Pakistani investigators the attacks were planned in July under the direction of a man called Ali Saleh, a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group.

Close associate of Osama Bin Laden

Saleh is reportedly a close associate of Bin Laden.

Agency reports say Odeh was born, of Palestinian parents, in Saudi Arabia and joined the PLO while studying in Jordan in the 1980s.

He went to Afghanistan in 1990 to fight in a "holy war" against the communist government.

It was there he met Bin Laden, who reportedly sent him to Africa in 1992 to begin planning for attacks against US interests.

See also:

21 Aug 98 | South Asia
21 Aug 98 | South Asia

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