Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Today in Manhunting History -- August 7, 1998: The African Embassy Bombings

On August 7, President Bill Clinton was awakened at 5:35 AM by a phone call from his National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, who informed him of the near-simultaneous bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attack in Nairobi killed 12 Americans and 201 others, almost all Kenyan staff at the embassy. The death toll would have been even worse but for the courageous actions of the security guards who denied the terrorists access to the embassy’s garage. As it was, nearly 5,000 Kenyans were injured as the blast demolished the secretarial college next to the embassy. Four minutes later, a second bomb exploded outside the embassy in Dar es Salaam, killing eleven people and injuring eighty-five. The blast was so powerful that the body of the suicide bomber driving the van was split in half, his torso still clutching the steering wheel in both hands as it hit the embassy building.

The determination was quickly made that al-Qa'ida was behind the attacks, which led to the official beginning of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

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