Essay on Terrorism in Kenya

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Terrorism in Kenya


Kenya has been the battlefield of tragic terrorist attacks on western interests twice since 1998 – once in 1998 when the US embassy was attacked and a second time in 2002 when a Israeli-owned Paradise hotel was bombed. In 1980, Jewish-owned Norfolk hotel was attacked by the PLO. Every single attack shared a common thread of irony: the majority of the lives lost were Kenyan, even though the ideology behind the attacks suggests that Kenyan and Kenyans were not involved in the political dynamic that precipitated the attacks.

The paper seeks to understand the political, social and cultural variables that have thrown Kenya into the geo-political limelight insofar as the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ is
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In 1980 terrorists linked to the Palestinian Liberation Organization attacked the Jewish-owned Norfolk hotel in Nairobi killing 15 people, most of them Kenyans.

In 1998, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and the one in neighboring Tanzania were bombed. According to official Kenyan government figures, 213 people were killed in the blast that gutted the U.S. Embassy building in downtown Nairobi. That included 12 American workers and 34 of their Kenyan colleagues, called "foreign service nationals [FSNs]." More than 4,000 Kenyans were also injured in the explosion.

In 2002, three suicide bombers attacked an Israeli-owned hotel, killing 11 Kenyans, 3 Israelis and wounding dozens. Almost simultaneously, at least two missiles were fired at - but missed - an Israeli airliner taking off from Mombasa airport. A previously unknown militant group calling itself The Government of Universal Palestine in Exile, The Army of Palestine, issued a statement in Lebanon claiming responsibility saying the operations were timed to mark the eve of the anniversary of the Nov. 29, 1947, decision by the United Nations to partition Palestine and allow creation of a Jewish state.[2]

More recently, in May 2003, warnings of possible imminent attacks in Kenya were issued on by officials in Washington, London and Berlin. Britain ordered British airlines to halt flights to Kenya due to fears
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