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Workers 'saw missile smoke'

Missile launchers
The Russian-made SA-7 missile launchers used in the attack

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MOMBASA, Kenya (CNN) -- Scrap metal workers told how they saw a four-wheel-drive vehicle parked near where police later found two missile launchers used in an attack on Thursday on an Israeli airliner leaving Mombasa.

The shoulder-fired missiles missed the Arika Boeing 757 as it took off carrying 261 passengers and 10 crew.

The workers said they were at a scrapyard around 7:40 a.m. (11:40 p.m. Wednesday ET), when the missiles were fired. They said they saw the vehicle, heard what sounded like shots, and saw plumes of smoke.

One of the workers, Dismas Were, told CNN he had not been interviewed by police.

The scene where the launchers were found is about one kilometre from the end of the Mombasa airport runway and about 350 metres from the flight path to the runway.

Israeli intelligence sources said missiles were "almost certainly SA-7s, or Strela Missiles" because Stingers and SA-18s are heat-seeking, and therefore unlikely to miss. (Terrorists known to possess SAMs)

Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi visited the site Friday where the missiles were fired -- one of two attacks Thursday against Israelis in Kenya.

In the second attack, about an hour after the missiles were fired, a car packed with explosives barreled through a security fence and exploded at an Israeli-owned hotel, killing 13 people plus the three bombers. (Full story)

Moi told reporters at the missile site, "We are very bitter because our economy relies on people who come here freely. But still Kenya is secure for tourists or for anybody. Our government is going to act very swiftly to mobilize the common people to know who is a friend and who is not a friend."

At the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel, police continued to sift through the wreckage. A police officer displayed a crude push-button type detonator that authorities believe was used by the bombers to blow up their plastic explosives-laden car at the hotel entrance.

A witness said Friday that he saw the green four-wheel-drive vehicle carrying three men pull up to the entrance of the Paradise Hotel, where 150 people who had just arrived on a flight from the Middle East were checking in.

He said the vehicle approached the security gate twice before barreling through into the reception area of the hotel.



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