CBSN

Busts In Kenya Blast

An aerial view of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, near Mombasa, Kenya is seen Thursday Nov. 28 , 2002 after it was devastated in an explosion
AP
A Kenyan court charged four men with 13 counts of murder Tuesday for a terrorist attack that killed at least 10 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists in November.

The four Kenyans charged in a Chief Magistrate's court were not asked to enter a plea because some prosecution documents were not prepared.

The suspects — who come from Kenya's coastal region — showed no emotion as the court's clerk Mohammed Ibrahim read out the charges and names of the Kenyans and Israelis killed in the Nov. 28 attack.

The four were remanded in custody and will appear before the magistrate's court again on July 8.

Under Kenyan law, suspects charged with capital offenses first appear in a Chief Magistrate's Court. A chief magistrate then reviews the prosecution's evidence and if he feels it is a legitimate case, a trial will be held at the High Court.

At least three of the four suspects are tied to a man suspected of being Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, an alleged al Qaeda operative and leading suspect in the November attack.

He has also been indicted in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed a combined 231 people. Both attacks have been blamed on Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

In the November attack, assailants also attempted to shoot down a chartered Israeli jet with shoulder-fired missiles as it was taking off from Mombasa's airport. The missiles narrowly missed.

Within a few minutes of that attack, suicide bombers exploded a car packed with explosives outside a beachfront hotel popular with Israelis, killing at least 10 Kenyans and three Israelis as well as the bombers.

It was earlier reported that 11 Kenyans were killed in the attacks, but only 10 names were read out Tuesday. The difference was not immediately reconcilable.

Aboud Rogo Mohammed, an Islamic teacher, Kubwa Mohamed, a trader, and his son, Mohamed Kubwa, a town councilor, were charged earlier this year with harboring an illegal alien, known as Abdul Karim, who was thought to be Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. New evidence led to the murder charges for the November attacks.

The fourth suspect, teacher Said Saggar Ahmed, was first picked up by police last month and was also charged with harboring an illegal alien, said Maobe Mao, the suspects' lawyer. Mao said the illegal alien was not Abdul Karim.

The four men were charged amid renewed warnings of a terrorist attack in the East African nation.

Investigators have told The AP that both Mohamed Kubwa and Amina identified Abdul Karim as Fazul Abdullah Mohamed, a native of the Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros who also has Kenyan citizenship.

Abdul Karim's whereabouts are not known, but last month Kenya authorities said they believed Fazul Abdullah Mohammed — listed on the FBI's most wanted list — may have returned to Kenya from Somalia.

The U.S. Embassy was closed Friday until at least Tuesday and air traffic between Kenya and Somalia was banned after the Pentagon raised the terrorism threat level to "high" in the East African nation.

Somalia, a Muslim nation that has not had an effective government since 1991, is believed to be a transit point and staging ground for al Qaeda operatives working in eastern Africa.

In other developments in the war on terror:

  • Police in Milan arrested six people Tuesday accused of providing logistical support to members of an Islamic extremist group linked to al Qaeda and suspected of contacts with alleged Sept. 11 coordinator Ramzi Binalshibh, who is in U.S. custody.

    The six — five Tunisians and a Moroccan — were picked up in a series of raids and accused of providing logistical support and financing with the aim of Islamic terrorism, fraud, aiding illegal immigration, possessing false documents among other charges. A seventh suspect is at large.

  • President Bush will thank Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday for valuable help in the war on terror, but might also press him to end support for militants who cross from Pakistan into Indian-controlled Kashmir.

    Pakistani police have recently been rounding up Islamic militants. On Monday, Pakistani officials announced the arrests of five suspected members of an outlawed militant group blamed for killing Shiite Muslims and the kidnap-slaying of American Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.