By Cyrus Ombati
Two Iranian terror suspects in the hands of police have reportedly confessed they planned to detonate a series of 30 killer bombs across Kenya at once.
The shocking confession police report to have secured from the two, not only paints how serious the magnitude of terror planned against Kenya could be, but also shows the plot has attained an international dimension.
Like in the case of the 1998 Nairobi terror bomb targeting American Embassy, and that of 2002 against Israeli-owned Kikambala Hotel in Mombasa, police reveal the latest series of attacks were aimed at local US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and British interests.
This could be the attacks Kenya’s high-level security team had been warned were about to take place, and that the isolated cases of grenade and gun attacks against civilians in North Eastern, Nairobi, and Mombasa were diversionary lower-levels attacks.
It were the two Iranian terror suspects arrested in Nairobi that police say led Kenyan security officials to a 15kg stash of explosives, which were to be used in simultaneous 30-bomb attacks. Each kilo was to produce two bombs.
It is from this information that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Tuesday it should take responsibility for the alleged heinous plot.
It is, however, not clear if the intelligence fed on the two Iranians – calling themselves Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi – were from Kenya or Israeli’s Mossad and America’s international intelligence networks that have always had their eyes riveted on global terror cells and their kingpins.
The terror suspects reportedly planned to take advantage of the attacks being experienced in Kenya by Al Shabaab sympathisers, though their cause was different and focused largely not on war in Somalia, but American, British and Israeli, and Saudi Arabia, the Middle East State perceived by many Muslim-dominated countries as a collaborator of the US and Israel.
Last October US agents claimed to have thwarted a plot by Iran to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in to the United States.
“In addition to holding these individual conspirators accountable for their alleged role in this plot, the United States is committed to holding Iran accountable for its actions,” US Attorney General Eric Holder declared after the plot was neutralised.
“They were to target some of the embassies and other installations had their plans materialised,” revealed a senior officer familiar with the tracking of the Iranians after they entered Kenya. He spoke on condition he would not be quoted.
On June 25, a Kenyan court charged two Iranians with illegal possession of 15kg of the powerful explosive RDX, according to the charge sheet. Both have denied the charges.
The Iranian Foreign ministry said on Saturday it was seeking information about their case, and refused to comment.
Last week, one of the two Iranians facing charges in Kenya told the court that Israeli agents had interrogated him while he was in the hands of local police.
Mohammad on Wednesday said Israeli agents interrogated the two; a claim that, if true, would suggest security officials believe the Iranians might have been targeting an Israeli-owned property.
Kenya got the backing of the top leadership of Israel in its war on Al Shabaab last year, with President Shimon Peres and Netanyahu declaring they would help Kenya in its struggle to secure its borders.
The two signed a memorandum of understanding for co-operation on matters of homeland security in Jerusalem. The late Internal Security minister George Saitoti signed on behalf of Kenya, while Prime Minister Raila Odinga witnessed.
Netanyahu expressed concern that threats from militants threaten Kenya’s tourism, adding that Kenya’s frustration with fundamentalists was similar to Israel’s and the two countries must stand together.
Netanyahu promised to help build “a coalition against fundamentalism” that brings together like-minded regional States including Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
President Peres pledged to give Kenya all the support it needs to ensure security within its borders and protect its citizens and economy.
The Israeli President said then Israel is ready to make “everything available to Kenya” for internal security and food production.
But back home, a section of Muslim leaders led by a Cabinet minister denounced the agreement because of the Israeli factor.
The US Embassy issued an alert on June 22, three days after the men were arrested, warning Americans against travelling to Mombasa, ordering Government workers out of the city, and suspending Government travel there through July 1. US agents had been involved in the Mombasa raids in which the chemicals were seized. Their plan was to use local agents to commit the acts.
Mohamed and Mousavi, who appeared in a Nairobi court last week, were arrested on June 19.
Another officer told The Standard the two are believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force.
The officer revealed the Iranian Government is putting pressure on Kenya to release the two, but other interests have eclipsed their demand.
The two had come from Saudi Arabia and spent three days in a Nairobi hotel before one of them travelled to Mombasa.
It was when he travelled to Mombasa that he moved the explosives close to the Mombasa Golf Hotel and returned to Nairobi.
Police revealed it was after he arrived back at the city hotel that they were informed these guests had refused to have their rooms cleaned.
“An informer aware of their activities revealed they were suspicious. When we arrested them they claimed to be businessmen, but they later led us to Mombasa where the chemical was found,” said the officer.
After Iran sent its agents to murder the Saudi ambassador on US soil, the country has engaged in attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi, and New Delhi. Now, we have just discovered a plot for a terrorist attack in Africa,” Netanyahu said.