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Saturday, August 8, 1998 Published at 01:08 GMT 02:08 UK


World: Americas

History of attacks on US personnel

The World Trade Centre was the target of bombers in 1993

Explosions near US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are the most recent in a continued history of attacks on US personnel.

In the past, both military installations and US embassies abroad have been targeted, frequently making civilians the victims of anti-American terrorism.

In the early 1980s, embassy compounds in the Middle East were the subject of attacks.


[ image: New York police help a wounded citizen]
New York police help a wounded citizen
In 1983, a fundamentalist suicide bomber blew up the US embassy on the sea front in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 16 Americans.

The following year, East Beirut was the target for another US embassy bombing. An explosive-packed station wagon detonated in front of the embassy, killing 11 people, including the driver.

Military personnel in civilian settings have also been the subjects of attack.

Civilians at La Belle disco in West Berlin, a popular nightspot with off-duty US soldiers, were injured alongside military personnel in an explosion in 1986.

The bomb, which killed two US servicemen, injured 200 other people. Washington blamed the incident on Libya.

In December 1988, a Pan Am 103 flight from London to New York blew up over Lockerbie in Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew were killed, as were 11 residents of Lockerbie.

The US and UK later accused two Libyan agents of responsibility for the blast.

Blasts hits US mainland

Then in February 1993, the first major terrorist attack on American soil took place at the World Trade Centre in New York.

Six people were killed and more than 1,000 - mainly civilians - injured in the blast. The US implicated Egyptian terrorists in the plot to attack targets in the country.

After the New York bomb, terrorist activity against the US returned to Middle East targets.

Seven people were injured - including five Americans - in an explosion in 1995 near a US-run military training centre in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

A year later, a huge explosion killed 19, and injured many others at a military complex housing US troops at Khobar in the east of the country.

The US responded by moving their remaining troops in the region in fear of reprisals.

Oklahoma bomb

Undoubtedly, the incident which traumatised America was the bombing in April, 1995, of the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.

A massive bomb inside a rental truck exploded, blowing half of the nine-story building into oblivion.

It took nearly two weeks to recover bodies from the rubble. Eventually, the death toll stopped at 168. It was the worst terrorist attack on US soil.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday's explosions in Tanzania and Kenya but it is thought that the bombs were aimed at the US embassies in each of the countries.





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