NAIROBI, KENYA: An Israeli rescue worker (R) calls to colleagues 10 August as they stand on what remains of a building in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, four days after a deadly bomb attack. The death toll in two almost simultaneous bombings here and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania rose to 190. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Terror in Africa: The 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings

On the 20th anniversary of the attacks that helped spark today's era of terrorism, photos from Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

On August 7, 1998, truck bombs ripped through two United States embassies 500 miles way from each other in Africa — one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the other in Nairobi, Kenya. Well over 200 people were killed. For the vast majority of Americans, this would be the first time hearing of a Saudi named Osama bin Laden and an Egyptian named Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the global terrorist organization they controlled (and, in al-Zawahiri's case, still controls): al Qaeda.

NAIROBI, KENYA: People and firemen work to remove the bodies of people who died when a bomb exploded near the US embassy and a bank in Nairobi 07 August, killing at least 60 people, including eight Americans, and leaving more than 1,000 injured. US ambassador Prudence Bushnell was slightly hurt in the blast, which which reduced a six-story building to rubble. Another bomb exploded almost simultaneously in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing six people. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images) -/AFP/Getty Images REDUCED TO RUBBLE Civilians and first responders work to remove the injured and the dead from the rubble the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. Scores were killed outright in the blast (the ultimate death toll was more than 200), and thousands of people were injured. American ambassador Prudence Bushnell was slightly hurt in the explosion, which reduced the six-story building to rubble. In the years since the attacks, the reasons put forth vary from revenge for the American extradition and torture of terrorists in the months prior; to marking the anniversary of U.S. troops being stationed on Saudi soil; to a plan by bin Laden to draw U.S. forces into a ground war in Afghanistan, "the graveyard of empires" — the last of which, of course, the attacks on 9/11 eventually accomplished. DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA: US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks with a member of the FBI at the US embassy in Dar es Salaam where a bomb exploded 11 days ago, leaving ten people dead. In the back is the tanker that was used to blow up the embassy. Albright vowed US resolve to fight terrorism, laying a wreath at the site of the blast. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images THE GATHERING STORM American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks with a member of the FBI at the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam in the days after the August 7, 1998, terror attack. The bombing in Tanzania killed far fewer than the one in Nairobi — 11 dead in Dar es Salaam, as opposed to more than 200 killed in Kenya — mainly because the embassy in Nairobi was built in a bustling urban center, while that in Dar es Salaam was on the outskirts of the city. Regardless, the destruction at both sites indicated that the simultaneous attacks, directed by al Qaeda and carried out by the long-active terror group, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, were likely just a terrible taste of things to come.

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395332 03: (FILE PHOTO) Armed masked men stand guard as suspected terrorist Osama bin-Laden (C) and Ayman Al-Zawahiri (L) address a news conference May 26, 1998 in Afghanistan. A Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman said October 4, 2001 that it had seen sufficient evidence provided by U.S. investigators to allow an indictment against Osama bin Laden. (Photo by Getty Images) Getty Images ARCHITECTS OF TERROR Armed men stand guard as Osama bin Laden (center) and Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) address a news conference in May 1998 in Afghanistan, two months before the embassy bombings in Africa. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed by U.S. special forces inside a private compound in Pakistan. Ayman Al-Zawahiri is al Qaeda's current leader. ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, UNITED STATES: With tears in his eyes, US President Bill Clinton addresses family and friends during a memorial ceremony 13 August at Andrew AFB for the victims of last week's terrorist bombing at the US Embassy in Nairobi. Clinton attended the ceremony with other US officials after the return of ten of the victims' bodies to US soil. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO Joyce NALTCHAYAN (Photo credit should read JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images) JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images MEMORIAL President Bill Clinton addresses family and friends during a memorial ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for the victims of the terrorist bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. Clinton attended the ceremony with other U.S. officials after the return of 10 of the victims' bodies to American soil. NAIROBI, KENYA: A Kenyan guard looks 08 August at the site of a bomb blast 07 August at the US embassy in Nairobi that killed at least 111 people and injured more than 4,000. Another blast occurred simultaneously in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, leaving eight dead. (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images) ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images SITE OF THE NAIROBI BLAST, ONE DAY LATER
NAIROBI, KENYA: Rescuers work to help survivors amid the devastation brought in by a bomb explosion near the US embassy and a bank in Nairobi 07 August that killed at least 60 people, including eight Americans, and left more than 1,000 injured. US ambassador Prudence Bushnell was slightly hurt in the blast, which which reduced a six-story building to rubble. Another bomb exploded in Dar-el-Salaam, Tanzania, killing six people. (Photo credit should read AFP/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA: This August 1998 file picture shows Police workers removing the remains of the car-bomb used to destroy the US embassy in Nairobi, 07 August 1998 that killed 280 Kenyans and 12 Americans. The jury in NY has begun deliberations in the case and the verdict is expected in the next days. AFP PHOTO/Alexander JOE (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images; ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images 08/18/98 - NA/Bartley - PHOTOGRAPHER: Frank Johnston-TWP. Arlington Cemetary. BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Father & Son Buried at Arlington Cemetary. 2. The graveside at Arlington Cemetary, the wife and Mother of Julian and Jay Bartlet are layed to rest. L to R:Mary Linda Sue Powell Bartley,Gladys Baldwin(Grandmother),Edith Bartley(Daughter),and Ayanna Dunn..The Bartleys were killed in the U.S. Embassy explosion in Kenya and Tanzania. (Photo by Frank Johnston/The Washington Post/Getty Images) The Washington Post/Washington Post/Getty Images A FAMILY'S GRIEF Mary Linda Sue Powell Bartley, Gladys Baldwin, Edith Bartley, and Ayanna Dunn sit graveside at Arlington National Cemetery during a funeral service for American Consul General Julian Bartley and his 20-year-old son, Jay, who were killed in the Nairobi embassy bombing. Ultimately, 21 people — including bin Laden and al-Zawahiri — were indicted on charges related to the bombings and killings. Some have died, or been killed. Some are serving life sentences in American prisons. Ayman al-Zawahiri and two others are, by all accounts, still alive. ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, UNITED STATES: Unidentified family members cry at a ceremony 13 August at Andrew AFB in Maryland honoring the men and women who lost their lives in last weeks terrorist bombing at the US embassy in Nairobi. Twelve Americans died in the attack that struck the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images) STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images TEARS FOR THOSE KILLED IN KENYA, AUGUST 1998 A young relative of a victim of the deadly bombing of the US embassy in 1998, walks past a painting on August 7, 2008 that depicts various themes related to the bombing, during a memorial service in a memorial park erected on the grounds where the embassy building once stood. The twin attacks 10 years ago left 213 people dead in Nairobi, including 12 Americans, and 11 in Dar es Salaam, where a ceremony was also held Thursday. 'We have suffered three major terrorist attacks in our short history, we will not allow a fourth one to happen,' Prime Minister Raila Odinga said, stressing that Kenya was actively hunting fugitives suspected of involvement in the 1998 attacks. AFP PHOTO/Simon MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images) SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images LOOKING BACK On the tenth anniversary of the Nairobi embassy attack, in a memorial park built on the grounds where the U.S. embassy building once stood, a young relative of a victim walks past a painting depicting themes related to the bombing. Along with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, which killed six and injured more than 1,000, the African embassy attacks were the opening salvos in an ongoing, shadowy war — a war that, on September 11, 2001, claimed 3,000 lives in Lower Manhattan; at the Pentagon in Virginia; and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers reportedly attacked the terrorists who had hijacked the plane.



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