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Kenya on high alert over Al-Shabaab attacks on airports

29 February 2016, 14:13

Nairobi (Xinhua) - Kenyan police are on high alert following intelligence reports that Islamist militants Al-Shabaab are planning to carry out suicide terror attacks on the country's airports late February or early March.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) head of security Eric Kiraithe said in a memo seen by Xinhua on Monday that the militants posing as passengers target domestic flights where they intend to blow themselves up during the landing.

"We have received intelligence report that Al-Shabaab is planning to conduct suicide terror attacks against Kenyan airports late February and early March," Kiraithe said.

"The attacks mainly target domestic flights and operatives posing as passengers intend to blow themselves up during landing," he added in the memo to all airport managers.

The former police spokesman warned that the planned attacks by the Somalia-based terrorists may paralyse operations at the vital installations with far reaching ramifications to national security.

Kiraith said a team of 11 suicide bombers have undergone training within Somalia on airborne suicide missions in readiness for the attacks.

"Five operatives will target Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Wilson Airport while the rest will focus on airports at the Coast region, among them Moi International Airport," he added in the memo dated on Feb 26.

Kiraithe called on all airport managers to ensure that every measure is applied to prevent any such eventually. "Manage this communication to achieve maximum alertness not to foster panic," he said.

Kiraithe however declined to comment on this memo when reached for comment.

A section of Kenyans rely on domestic flights to connect to their destinations. There are many local flights that operate to various airports within the country.

The memo came after a plane belonging to Daallo Airlines was hit by a suicide bomber in Mogadishu on Feb 2.

Somali government official said the Daallo Airlines flight D3159 was en route to Djibouti from Somalia after suspected bomb blasted a hole through the side of the board or fuselage just five minutes after aircraft took off from Mogadishu airport.

The Daallo Airlines flight was able to fly back to Mogadishu and land safely and 74 passengers on board were evacuated. Two passengers were hurt in the blast.

- Xinhua


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