Terror Attacks in Mombasa, Kenya

Interview with Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ron Prosor on CNN
November 28, 2002

Ron Prosor: I’m just coming directly from our operations center, where we’re in direct contact with our embassy and our people on the way from Nairobi to Mombasa. What we know now is that two missiles were shot at an Arkia plane and that we have three confirmed people dead, Israeli citizens, two of them children. This is an escalation, in our mind, of international terrorism and it’s obvious that if we don’t take down this network of international terrorism, it will bring us down at the end of the day.

Q: What do you know about who was responsible for these attacks? What are you hearing (inaudible)?

A: At this stage we won’t go into who’s responsible, because I think it’s too early and we won’t like to set the scene on one organization or the other, but I don’t think it’s important. We see for the first time a direct attack on civilian aviation – a precedent. We’ve seen in the past a direct attack on Israel with the hijacking of planes. We’re at the forefront of international terrorism, and if we don’t stick together and fight it around the world we will see the scenes in Mombasa, where there are more Kenyans killed and wounded than Israeli citizens, as part of an international terror that we have to bring down. We cannot live this way with civilian aviation, with civilian citizens on airplanes being directly under danger from terrorist organizations.

Q: Mr. Prosor, let’s talk a little bit about what happened at the hotel outside of Mombasa, the Paradise Hotel. What do you know exactly about what happened there?

A: We know at this stage that a car exploded in the lobby of the hotel. The hotel was built from wood and basically it burned down. We know that there are many casualties and we have people in the hospitals, again, trying to take care of the wounded. Like I said, and it’s very important to emphasize: This is an attack not only against Israeli civilians. This is an attack against people who have nothing to do [with Israel], innocent civilians in Kenya, in any other part of the world. What happened in Mombasa today is a direct escalation of international terrorism and we should all join hands in trying to stop it in order to make sure that our citizens and everyone in the world will be able to travel safely, live safely, and go to restaurants and go to work safely without being bombed to death.

Q: What do you know about security at the hotel? Was there any security, was there substantial security at the hotel?

A: Look, I don’t have the exact details, but it should be obvious to you and I think to all the listeners that you cannot have security in every place, in hotels, in restaurants, in streets, on airplanes. It’s impossible to turn the whole world into a garrison state. Terrorists try to make sure that we will not be able to live our lives quietly and we have to make sure that we join hands in order to fight international terrorism, which takes place not only in Israel but around the world. Today it’s Mombasa, tomorrow it can be anywhere else in the world. If people are not aware of what is happening, this is really a wake-up call for all of us around the world. We have to fight terrorism, because if we don’t bring terrorism down it will bring us down.