On August 7, 1998, at approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, two Embassies of the United States of America, located in the East African cities of Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were attacked in coordinated truck bombings, later determined to have occurred approximately four minutes apart. In Nairobi, 213 people were killed in the blast, while 11 individuals died in the bombing at Dar es Salaam. The bombings were carried out by members and associates of Usama Bin Ladin's organization, known by the Arabic word "al-Qaeda", literally, "the base"). Under US. Federal law, the FBI is mandated with the responsibility of investigating certain crimes committed against American persons and property abroad. The attacks against the Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam fall under this mandate. Within hours of the bombings, FBI personnel were dispatched to East Africa to assist the Kenyan Criminal Investigative Division (CID) and Tanzanian CID in conducting crime scene forensic examinations, as well as investigative interviews, searches and arrests. The information detailed herein was primarily developed as a result of these investigations, still ongoing, at Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
It should be noted however, that a significant reason for the success of these investigations to date has been the willingness of the Kenyan, Tanzanian and many other friendly foreign governments to assist and facilitate our investigative efforts when possible. The FBI recognizes that this spirit of cooperation has been, and will continue to be, very important to our ability in countering the very real threat posed by Usama Bin Ladin and his affiliates to the safety of ordinary people worldwide.
Sometime in 1993 to early 1994, individuals associated with al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization founded by Usama Bin Ladin and Muhammed Atef, began to locate to Kenya, primarily to the Nairobi and Mombasa areas. Some were "mujahedin" or "holy warriors" who, like Usama Bin Ladin himself, had fought against the former Soviet Union after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Al-Qaeda opposed the involvement of the United States in the Gulf War in 1991, operation "Restore Hope" in Somalia in 1992-1993 and the US presence in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Al-Qaeda also opposed the United States because of the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of persons belonging to Al-Qaeda and associated groups such as Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
One of the first Usama Bin Ladin associates and former mujahidin to move to Kenya was Wadih El-Hage, (Hereafter referred to as El-Hage), a Lebanese Christian by birth, who later became a naturalized American citizen and converted to Islam. Others included Fazul Abdullah Mohammed also known as (aka) Harun Fazhl, (hereafter referred to as Harun), and Muhammed Sadiq Odeh, aka Mohammed Sadiq Howaida (hereafter referred to as Odeh). At this time, Abu Ubaida Al-Banshiri, aka Jalal, aka Aadil Habib, (hereafter referred to as Abu Ubaida), a powerful member of Usama Bin Ladin's leadership, was also in Tanzania. Abu Ubaida was both a landowner and a businessman in Mwanza, Tanzania. Until his death in a ferry accident on Lake Victoria in May 1996, Abu Ubaida was a known Harun associate and is believed to have been one of Usama Bin Ladin's two most influential military commanders.
One commonality amongst the above individuals is the fact that at one time or another, all were associated with Kenya based non-governmental organizations (NGO's), organizations ostensibly created for the purposes of humanitarian relief and aid work. A chapter of one NGO, Help Africa People, allegedly founded in Germany, was established in Nairobi by El-Hage. At one time, Help Africa employed Harun. Odeh was given an identity card for Help Africa People to show his wife and her family as an indication of his employment. Aside from their NGO work, many of these individuals, who the FBI believes may be part of the original core group of the Usama Bin Ladin cell in East Africa, also set up other businesses; commercial fishing and clothing companies were common to many of them. To the casual observer, these individuals would have appeared to live ordinary lives.
The Nairobi Attack:
Initial planning of the attacks against the US embassy at Nairobi seems to have begun in Spring 1998, with the movement of key personnel into East Africa. In May 1998, Harun rented an estate home in an upscale residential neighborhood outside the center of Nairobi at 43 Runda Estates. The home was isolated by high walls that surrounded the property, making it nearly impossible for any passerby to observe activity in and around the house. Moreover, the gated driveway was large enough to accommodate trucks, as was the garage. It is believed that the bomb used to destroy the US Embassy at Nairobi may have been constructed and actually stored at this location.
The FBI believes that the following individuals were involved in the operation to bomb the US Embassy in Nairobi: Harun, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah(hereinafter referred to as Saleh); Odeh; Fahad Mohammed Ally(hereinafter referred to as Ally); Abdul Rahman (hereinafter referred to as Rahman); Mohammed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali, (hereinafter referred to as Al-Owhali); and Jihad Mohammed Ali (hereinafter referred to as Azzam).
Saleh is described as the "mastermind" of both the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam attacks. Odeh is an "explosives consultant" and trained architect. Ally was the owner of a pick-up truck subsequently believed to be used by Harun to lead the bomb delivery truck to the rear of the US Embassy in Nairobi. Rahman is described to be a bomb technician. Al-Owhali was a passenger in the bomb delivery truck driven by Azzam. Al-Owhali and Azzam had prepared for their martyrdom in what was to be a suicide bombing. Al-Owhali, however, fled the scene of the bombing when the attack diverged from the original plan. He was subsequently arrested and rendered to the United States on August 27, 1998. Odeh was arrested by the Kenyans on August 14th, 1998 and rendered to the United States on August 28th, 1998.
On August 4, 1998, Saleh and Al-Owhali reportedly conducted a reconnaissance of the US Embassy, in part to finalize the plan concerning the bomb-delivery truck's placement : It was decided to locate the truck as close as possible to the rear of the building, instead of attempting to drive it into the Embassy's underground garage or place it in the front of the embassy building.
On or about August 5, 1998, Rahman is said to have made the final connection between the bomb and the detonation device, which was located in the passenger compartment of the bomb-delivery truck. At that time, the bomb-delivery truck was located in the garage at 43 Runda estates.
The Nairobi Attack:
On August 7, 1998, prior to the bombing, two light colored vehicles exited 43 Runda Estates. In the first, a pick-up truck, was Harun, who led the second vehicle, a truck, containing the passenger Al-Owhali and the driver Azzam to the US embassy. At that time, Al-Owhali was armed with a pistol and a number of homemade stun grenades. Once in the Embassy parking lot, Al-Owhali's role was to "scare away" people in the vicinity of the Embassy compound. The objective was allegedly to reduce the number of potential Kenyan casualties. Al-Owhali was also to manually detonate the bomb, in the event that the detonation device malfunctioned. However, upon exiting the bomb delivery vehicle, Al-Owhali forgot his pistol in the truck and was left only with the stun grenades. Instead of returning to the bomb vehicle, Al-Owhali brandished a stun grenade before throwing it in the direction of a security guard. Al-Owhali then fled the scene. At about the same time, Azzam (the driver) manually detonated the bomb. It is believed that Azzam was killed instantly.
The Dar Es Salaam Attack:
In June 1998, about one
month after Harun leased 43 Runda Estates in Nairobi, Khalfan Khamis
Mohammed (hereinafter known as Khamis) signed a lease to rent a
house in the Ilala District of Dar es Salaam. This house shared many
of the same characteristics as 43 Runda Estates. For instance, it
was also located away from the city center, and the whole of the
property was surrounded by high walls to block the view of
passersby. It, too, had a garage large enough to accommodate a
truck. Preliminary analysis suggests it may have been where the bomb
used to destroy the US embassy in Dar es Salaam was constructed and
The following individuals have been identified as being possibly
members of the Dar es Salaam cell : Ally, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani
(hereinafter referred to as Ghailani); Ahmed Salim Swedan
(hereinafter referred to as Swedan); and Khamis. Ghailani purchased
the bomb delivery vehicle with the assistance of Swedan. In addition
both Ally and Khamis were associated with the bomb delivery vehicle.
As noted previously, Saleh has been described as the
"mastermind" of both the Dar es Salaam and the Nairobi
Investigations subsequent to the bombing revealed that Ally and
Khamis had been residing with Rashid Saleh Hamed. Hamed is currently
in the custody of Tanzanian officials and has been charged with the
murder of eleven people as a direct result of the bombing. Another
individual currently in Tanzanian custody and charged with this
bombing is Mustafa Mahmud Said Ahmed (hereinafter referred to as
Mahmud). Mahmud was reportedly involved a past incident of
surveilling the US Embassy in Nairobi in 1997.
The Dar Es Salaam Attack:
According to information received Saleh aka Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah said that Hamden Khalif Allah Awad aka "Ahmed the German," was chosen to drive the bomb vehicle in Dar es Salaam. The FBI believes that "Ahmed the German" was the driver of the bomb delivery vehicle and that he was killed instantly as a result of the bomb's detonation outside the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
Of The Bombs:
The FBI is of the opinion that the bombs used in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam both employed TNT as a principle explosive component. Certain statements made by the subjects and/or witnesses in the case have mentioned the use of TNT and the FBI Laboratory has confirmed its presence at both bomb sites. The FBI Laboratory is continuing with it's forensic examination of the evidence from the two bombings and, as those examinations are completed, further details of the two explosive devices will become known.
The FBI will continue to investigate all aspects of the bombing, inside and outside of East Africa; will continue to pursue all known and unknown subjects who participated in the bombings; and will continue to pursue other Al-Qaeda members suspected of otherwise being involved in criminal activity directed at American targets. Upon apprehension the FBI will seek to have all subjects tried at the federal level in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York.
The United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York has filed an indictment which names the following individuals : Usama Bin Ladin, Muhammed Atef, Harun, Odeh and Al-Owhali, each charged as follows: one(1) count of conspiracy to kill US nationals; two(2) counts of bombing US Embassies; and two hundred twenty four counts of murder. Wadih El-Hage is charged with one(1) count of conspiracy to kill US nationals, eight (8) counts of perjury before a Federal Grand Jury and three(3) counts of lying to a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The indictment charges that the above-mentioned-individuals and other conspired to conduct acts of terrorism against the US interests as members of the terrorist organization, al-Qaeda. These acts of terrorism include the bombing of US embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania; the killing of US military personnel in Somalia; the recruitment of US citizens to commit acts of terrorism; the shipment of weapons and explosives to Saudi Arabia; and efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. This conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism against US interests originated in 1989 and has continued to the present time.
The al-Qaeda conspiracy targeted the US Government because the United States is an "infidel" power, governing in a manner inconsistent with al-Qaeda's interpretation of Islam and because of US support for other "infidel" governments, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In addition, al-Qaeda opposed the involvement of the United States in the Gulf War in 1991, operation "Restore Hope" in Somalia in 1992-1993 and the presence of US military currently in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Finally, al-Qaeda opposed the United States because of the arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of persons belonging to al-Qaeda and associated groups, such as Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.
The FBI and the Southern District of New York expect to charge others in the bombing of the US Embassies at Nairobi and Dar es
Salaam. The US Government will also vigorously investigate members
of the al-Qaeda organization in the United States and around the