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U.S. Embassy in Kenya Links Dead Suspect to Al Qaeda

Two suspected terrorists targeted in a raid last week, one of whom killed himself during the arrest, were part of Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda (search) network, the U.S. Embassy said Monday.

The raid came in Kenya's Indian Ocean port of Mombasa (search), sparked by the arrest early Friday of one of the suspects.

Acting on information he provided, Kenyan police went after the other suspect later that day at the edge of the maze-like warren of alleys in the city's Old Town. As the suspect was being taken into custody he detonated a grenade, killing himself and a policeman.

The U.S. Embassy said the suspects had "evident ties to the Al Qaeda terror network" and praised the Kenyan police as "swift and fearless" in acting against them.

The embassy statement Monday did not identify either man or give details on their alleged connection to Al Qaeda. The arrested suspect remains in Kenyan custody.

Al Qaeda is believed to have a significant presence in eastern Africa. The group is blamed in November attacks on vacationing Israelis in Mombasa, which killed three Israelis and at least 10 Kenyans, and in the 1998 car bombing of the U.S. Embassy, which killed 219 people, including 12 Americans.

The statement did not say if the two militants targeted on Friday were suspected in those attacks.

A third suspect escaped in the chaos after the explosion during Friday's raid, which took place just yards from Mombasa's Central Police Station.

Eastern Africa, which remains home to hundreds of thousands of people of Arab descent. Kenya's Muslim population is thought to number between 5 percent of 15 percent of the country's 30 million people.

International pressure has forced Kenya to step up efforts to fight terrorism. So far, five Kenyan men have been charged with murder in connection with the November attack in Mombasa.