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Wednesday, August 19, 1998 Published at 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK

World: Africa

FBI raids Kenya hotel

FBI agents carry boxes of evidence from Nairobi's Hilltop Hotel

American FBI agents, acting with Kenyan police, have raided a hotel in Nairobi as part of the inquiry into the bomb attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania earlier this month.

BBC East Africa Correspondent, Kathy Jenkins, reports from Nairobi
In a joint statement, the FBI and the Kenyan police said confirmed the raid and added that their investigation was proceeding and no further comment would be made.

The statement came after a Kenyan newspaper, the Daily Nation, said the FBI agents were led to the hotel by a leading Palestinian suspect, Mohammed Saddiq Howaida, who was deported from Pakistan last week.

[ image: Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper broke news of the raids]
Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper broke news of the raids
They searched two rooms where the bomb is thought to have been assembled, and carried several boxes carried away. The hotel manager was arrested.

The newspaper quoted a source as saying: "The two rooms were inspected for forensic evidence but it appeared that the bombers had swept clean any particles of the material used to make the bomb."

Suicide bombers

Cathy Jenkins reports from Nairobi
Howaida, also known as Mohammed Saddiq Odeh, is reported to have told the investigators that he was the chief assembler of the bomb and gave instructions on how bombing was to be executed.

"On August 7, one of the four men who were in that hotel accompanied two other suicide bombers to the American embassy to launch the attack.

"We are sure that the three died in the blast," the Nation's unnamed source was quoted as saying.

[ image: Two hotel rooms searched for clues]
Two hotel rooms searched for clues
Howaida is also reported to have named dissident Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden as the man who sponsored the bombing.

Also on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Howaida had given details of a global paramilitary network aimed at US interests abroad and orchestrated by bin Laden who is thought to be based in Afghanistan.

International network

[ image: Osama bin Laden: suspected of backing bombers]
Osama bin Laden: suspected of backing bombers
Citing notes taken by Pakistani intelligence officials whilst questioning Howaida, the Post reports that Howaida told the officials that bin Laden had a large arsenal of surface-to-air missiles, mortars, rockets and tanks stored in Afghanistan.

He is reported to have told officials about other planned attacks against American interests abroad using an international network of 4,000 to 5,000 militants controlled by bin Laden.

There has been no official comment on the reports from either the Kenyan or US authorities.

Meanwhile the American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who has been in Nairobi to pay respects to the victims, has pledged to seek emergency funding for Kenya.

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