US officials have new clues

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The Independent Online
THE US yesterday vowed vengeance against those who carried out the African Embassy bombings, promising that however long it took, they would respond.

The US said that it had accumulated some clues to the identity of the bombers. "There is information to work with," said Sandy Berger, the President's National Security Adviser. But the senior officials, who met at the White House in a crisis session on Saturday, underlined that it would be some time before there was any concrete indication of the targets. "While there might be an instant gratification to do something about an attack on us, we have to be absolutely sure we have the facts straight," said Ms Albright.

Teams of investigators arrived in Nairobi on Saturday, and in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Amongst the evidence which they will search is a security camera on the roof of the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam. At least 11 Americans died in the Nairobi blast, including three servicemen, six civilian employees of the State Department and Pentagon, one employee of the Centres for Disease Control, and the son of the US Consul General, who was himself still missing yesterday.

Officials acknowledged that one key subject of the inquiries is Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire who has co-ordinated and financed a number of radical groups. "Clearly he is someone who has been involved in sponsoring terrorism," said Ms Albright. "He has made speeches in which he has been basically very anti-America." But she cautioned that it was still too early to make any definitive statements. Newsweek magazine reports today that the Central Intelligence Agency had people associated with Mr bin Laden under surveillance in Kenya.

Equally, officials were wary of acknowledging the claims of responsibility made by groups variously calling themselves the "The Islamic Army for the Liberation of Holy Places" and "The Liberation Army for the Islamic Sanctuaries." They sent claims to media in the Gulf and elsewhere saying that the attacks were aimed at removing the US forces from Saudi Arabia, freeing Islamic radicals held in Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel, and removing Israel from Jerusalem.

The other suspected group is Egyptian Jihad, a group that seeks the downfall of the regime in Cairo, and which has been linked to Mr bin Laden. It had issued threats against the US after US intelligence tip-offs led to the extradition of four of its members from Albania.