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International Security
Updated: 16 Nov 2006   
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U.S. Embassy Bombings

 

Memorial site for the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya
Judy Muthoni and Rosemary Wanjiru lay flowers at the memorial site for the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, August 7, 2005. (©AP/WWP)

On August 7, 1998, two truck-bomb explosions destroyed the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, leaving 257 dead and injuring more than 5,000 people.

Bombs exploded "within minutes of each other" adjacent to the U.S. embassies at 10:45 a.m. local time, 3:45 a.m. Washington time, White House Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs Colonel Philip J. Crowley told reporters at the White House shortly after the bombings.

President Bill Clinton was informed of the attacks by phone by National Security Advisor Sandy Berger at roughly 5:30 a.m. Washington time, Crowley said. The President was "deeply troubled by the news.”

President Clinton issued a statement in the Rose Garden the morning of August 7 saying, "These acts of terrorist violence are as abhorrent as they are inhuman. We will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice no matter what, or how long, it takes."

The President noted that "the most powerful weapon in our counter-terrorism arsenal is our determination to never give up. In recent years we have captured major terrorists in the far corners of the world and brought them to America to answer for their crimes, sometimes years after they were committed."

He also stressed that "to pull back our diplomats and troops from the world's trouble spots; to turn our backs on those taking risks for peace; to weaken our opposition to terrorism would give terrorism a victory it must not and will not have." President Clinton ordered U.S. flags flown at half-staff on August 7, 1998, at all U.S. government buildings around the world.

The bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Africa would set the stage for America's heightened intolerance of terrorism that would prevail throughout future presidencies.

 



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SPECIAL FEATURE Kenya Vigil
Young Kenyans join in a peace vigil in Central Nairobi on August 10, 1998, after blasts killed 257 people and injured nearly 5,000.(AP/WWP)

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