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Kenya Responds Further to Continuing Terrorist Threat
Kenya has taken a series of security measures since last weekend in response to the continuing terrorist threat in the country.

The government has banned all flights to Somalia and closed Kenyan airspace to planes from the neighboring country since Saturday, to prevent a possible terrorist attack.

The Kenyan Antiterrorism Police Unit and the Kenyan General Service Unit have conducted a massive operation in the capital Nairobi's Eastleigh area, where thousands of Somali refugees live, since Friday night, questioning about 100 people and arresting 36.   

All major installations and top hotels in the country have been heavily guarded by security officers and policemen.

All entry points, including border points, airports and seaports, are put under tight security.

Foreign embassies and international institutions are kept under strict protection.

Wanderers and layabouts, widely seen lying on the ground in Nairobi centers in the past, have been chased away by security men aiming at "locking out any undesirable elements."

Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has newly established a Tourism Police Unit to enhance the fight against terrorism in the country.

This is the second time Kenya has taken massive actions to counter terrorist threat in the African country this year.

The Kenyan government sounded an alarm over possible terrorist attacks within its borders a month ago.

Chris Murungaru, Kenyan minister for national security, said on May 13 that a 29-year-old man, believed to have perpetrated terrorist activities in East Africa over the last five years, was hiding in Kenya.

The man, named Fadul Abdullah Mohammed, who speaks Arabic, French, English, Swahili and Comoros, was last seen in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. But he is said to be shuttling between Mogadishu and Mombasa, a southeast port city of Kenya.

Following Kenya's terrorist alarm, the United States, Britain and some other western countries have cautioned their citizens to postpone traveling to East Africa, especially to Kenya, and the British Airways has suspended its flights to and from Kenya since May 15.

Kenya has beefed up security countrywide thereafter to prevent possible terrorist attacks and the situation across the nation remained relatively calm during the past month.

Belgium, Germany and France have recently withdrawn their warnings against traveling to Kenya.

However, the Unites States announced Saturday that "offices of the US embassy in Kenya will not open for business on June 23 and June 24, and if necessary additional days thereafter" due to what is described as "new and concrete information concerning the continuing threat of terrorist activity in Kenya and East Africa."   

That raised security concerns in Kenya again, analysts said.

Murungaru has said on several occasions that Kenya remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks but the security machinery in the country is on high alert over any possible incident that may threaten the country's security.

Kenya has suffered two major terrorist attacks in recent years.

In November 2002, terrorists bombed an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, killing 17 people.

In August 1998, terrorists destroyed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing over 200 people and injuring more than 5,000 others.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2003)

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