Kenya, Tanzania remember Qaeda bomb attacks of 1998
Kenya and Tanzania on Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of devastating US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam, which signalled Al-Qaeda’s emergence as a deadly player on the global stage.
Iran press/ Africa: In Nairobi, families of the victims and officials gathered for a moving ceremony at a memorial park in the centre of the Kenyan capital, built on the site of the US embassy.
The diplomatic mission was devastated by a huge explosion on the morning of August 7, 1998, followed minutes later by another massive blast which wrecked the US embassy in Tanzania. A total of 224 people were killed in the attacks and around 5,000 injured - mostly Africans.
With two monster bombs loaded onto the back of trucks and a trail of carnage in east Africa, the world was introduced to Osama bin Laden three years before the September 11 attacks in New York would make him a household name.
The Nairobi Chamber Chorus performed the US and Kenyan national anthems then the crowd, lit candles in hand, listened as the names of the victims were read out to the sound of a solo violin.
Kenya itself has also been hit by further mass bloodshed. Two years after the embassy attack, it sent troops across the border into Somalia to fight the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab, which had been staging attacks on its soil.
The group hit back violently, staging a major attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre in 2013, killing 67 people, and another assault on Garissa University in eastern Kenya two years later, which left 148 dead.
Kenya has not seen a major attack since 2015, with counter-terror chief Kimani saying the country was benefitting from ongoing cooperation with its allies although he admitted that the ever-present threat required “continued vigilance”.