Little Bits of History

Attack

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 28, 2012

Ruins left after the Mombasa attacks

November 28, 2002: The Mombasa attacks take place. Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya and is on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The former Arabic sultanate of Mvita had its capital here and the Mombasa Republican Council still demands secession from Kenya. Nearly a million people live here, about 2% of the population of Kenya. Most of the citizens are Christians, but the percentage of native religions and Muslims vary widely. The temperatures are tropical and the months of April and May have very heavy rainfall. In November, the weather is balmy. They are the home of Kenya’s only large seaport. They are also have an international airport.

The attacks on this day were twofold. One was “successful” while the other resulted in failure. An Boeing 757 owned by Arkia Airlines (based out of Israel) took off from Moi International Airport. The charter company had regular weekly service which flew tourists from Tel Aviv to Mombasa and back. About 1.25 miles from the airport, two shoulder-launched Strela 2 (SA-7) surface-to-air missiles were fired at the plane. They missed. There is speculation that the plane was using an infrared countermeasure system which confused the SAM’s seeker system. There were witnesses who saw small flames above the wings which could mean that decoy flares had been fired. The shell casings were found, but the plane was unharmed.

At about the same time as the plane being fired upon, another attack was underway. A blast occurred when a red all-terrain vehicle crashed through a barrier and entered the lobby of the Paradise Hotel. Sixty guests had just checked into the hotel, all of them from Israel. Thirteen of the guests were killed and other 80 guests were injured. Also killed in the attack were ten Kenyans who worked at the hotel. Most of the natives were traditional dancers who were there to welcome the newly arriving 140 guests who were coming from the Israel state-sponsored jet.

After the attacks, four Israeli military Hercules planes arrived, carrying teams of doctors and psychologists. They helped people on the ground and evacuated the injured as well as any other tourists who wanted to leave. A previously unknown group calling themselves the Army of Palestine took credit for the attacks. Three specific people were named as suspects, one from Kenya, one from Comoros, and one from Sudan. The attacks were officially condemned by the UN Security Council as well as Israel, Kenya, the US and the UK. Efforts have been made to keep the air-to-ground missiles out of the hands of civilians.

Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion. – Robertson Davies

In every man there is an instinctive and passionate reaction if his person or liberty is attacked. – Arthur Keith

No amount of humanitarian assistance can protect people from being attacked. – Jan Egeland

There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion. – Lord Acton

Also on this day:

The Pitch Experiment – In 2000, the eighth drop in the 73 year old Pitch Experiment drops.
Night Life & Death – In 1942, the Cocoanut Grove burned.
Hot Off the Presses – In 1814, The London Times was printed using a steam operated press.