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Friday, 29 November, 2002, 08:26 GMT
Mombasa in a state of shock
Red Cross workers remove rubble from the Paradise Hotel
The hotel looks like a war zone

By the time I arrived at the scene, the timeless image of whispering palms swayed by the gentle ocean breeze was long gone.

A huge crowd of local residents gathered outside the hotel compound - barely talking and visibly shaken.


There has been a serious lapse of security on the part of the government

former local MP
The gutted gate of the Paradise Hotel, just outside Mombasa, was still smouldering.

Inside the hotel areas, the smoke from the burnt thatched roof engulfed the place as police and security personnel combed through the wreckage that was once an exotic 200-bed tourist hotel.

The lobby of the hotel resembled a bombed-out site in a war zone.

Body bags

Elsewhere, police and Red Cross workers were busy collecting body parts and putting them into green body bags.

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

A battery of international and local journalists scrambled to take pictures as the bags were loaded onto a police truck.

Everywhere, people were shocked and angry.

"I am very angry at what happened here," Catherine Waithera, a local resident managed to say.

"We knew most of the people who died here, and those who were injured. They were just going about their business. They did not deserve to die."

Emmanuel Maitha, a local former opposition MP, shared her anger.

Inconsolable

"There has been a serious lapse of security on the part of the government which has allowed this atrocious thing to happen.

"We hold the government responsible for the deaths of these people."

Map

As night fell, forensic and bomb experts continued to work through the rubble.

Outside, the local residents seemed inconsolable as they tried to come to terms with what has happened here.

Their livelihood had revolved around the tourist industry which had begun to pick up after the 1997 ethnic clashes that rocked the country's coastal region.

But their future now looks uncertain after terror struck on the doorstep of Kenya's popular tourist resort.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Harding
"A memorial service in the grounds of the Hotel Paradise"
Israeli Foreign ministry spokesman, Gilad Millo
"We are telling the Israeli people that international terrorism has stepped up and we are seeing a dangerous phenomenon"

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23 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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