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Truck bombing at US Embassy Nairobi

Suicide Attack
Part of East African Embassy Bombings

Truck bombing at US Embassy NairobiTruck bombing at US Embassy NairobiTruck bombing at US Embassy Nairobi

Primary OrganizationNairobi embassy bombing cell
Other OrganizationAl-Qaeda
Means of AttackTruck bomb
TargetU.S. Embassy, Nairobi
LocationU.S. Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya
Time1030 local, Aug. 7, 19981
Victim Deaths213 or 2912
Victim Injuries50001
Attacker Deaths11
ParticipantsAzzam (Suicide Bomber) 1, Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali (Attacker) 1, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (Organizer) 1, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (Operational Commander)
Narrative and Notes (Reliable)Mohamed Rashed al-'Owhali and Azzam, after driving to the embassy along with Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in another vehicle, approached the rear security entrance of the building in their bomb-laden Toyota Dyna truck.
They approached the security gate at and demanded entrance. The security guards, unarmed local hires, refused. Al-'Owhali threw a stun grenade at them, and Azzam began firing a handgun at the embassy building.
The commotion drew embassy employees to the windows. Most of them would be killed or seriously injured due to their proximity to the blast.
The guards fled and tried to raise the Marine guards, but the embassy's radio and telephone were occupied with traffic.
Rather than die, Al-'Owhali then fled. Somehow Azzam got past the security gate and detonated his bomb, destroying a multi-story Ufundi Building, which contained a secretarial school, and severely damaging the U.S. embassy and the Co-op bank buildling.1,3
Narrative and Notes (Possible)There is some discrepancy regarding the number of deaths in the Nairobi bombings.
Reports agree that 12 U.S. citizens and 32 non-U.S. citizen embassy employees (called Foreign Service Nationals) were killed.
The U.S. State Department has used the figure of 247 additional Kenyans killed, for a total of 291 deaths in the Nairobi bombing.
The U.S. Justice Department, as well as members of a State Department Accountability Review Boards, have used the figure of 213 total deaths, including 169 Kenyans not employed at the embassy.
What happened to the 78 other possible victims is unclear. Casualty figures change after a major attack, as more people turn up missing or are found, so it is likely that one figure is simply older than the other, but officials with the State Department and FBI a few years ago said they both stood by their figures.1,2,3,4

Sources and Notes

1United States vs. Osama bin Laden et al, indictment, Nov. 4, 1998, and updates.
2U.S. State Department. 'Patterns of Global Terrorism.' 1998 edition.
3U.S. State Department, Report of the Accountability Review Boards, January 1999.
4Author interviews with spokesman for the FBI and the State Department.

Photo credits (left to right)

(1) U.S. government
(2) U.S. government
(3) U.S. government

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