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FBI Helps S. Africa in Bomb Probe

August 27, 1998

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ FBI agents combed through the debris of a bombed-out Planet Hollywood restaurant in Cape Town on Thursday, and President Nelson Mandela offered his sympathies to victims of the attack.

Mandela visited the site where a bomb killed one and injured 27 people, including five members of a British family enjoying their first night in Cape Town.

South African officials have linked Tuesday’s restaurant attack to last week’s U.S. missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan. The State Department said Wednesday that the South African-owned Planet Hollywood, which was founded by a group of U.S. celebrities, may have been targeted because of its American links.

``I have felt ... this sense of deep shock that human beings can slaughter and injure and maim so many people who are absolutely innocent,″ Mandela told reporters.

``If the idea was to hit against the United States of America, it is highly misplaced to attack an institution of this nature.″

Four FBI agents arrived Thursday to help South African police. Two came from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where they were investigating bombings earlier this month of the U.S. embassies there and in Tanzania. The U.S. missile strikes were in retaliation for those attacks.

The only claim of responsibility for the restaurant bombing came from a caller to a radio station who said he represented the anti-American, anti-Israeli group called Muslims Against Global Oppression. The group later denied being behind the attack.

It plans a march Saturday to the U.S. consulate in Cape Town to protest the U.S. missile attacks on suspected terrorist sites in Afghanistan and Sudan.

Spokeswoman Helen Picard said the consulate was closed on weekends and would rely on local police for security during the march.

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