Eighty-three people have been arrested in a massive security swoop launched after Sunday’s twin attacks in Garissa churches.
Garissa district commissioner M.M. Kangi said a combined team of the Kenya Police, Administration Police, National Security Intelligence Service and the paramilitary General Service Unit was conducting an “intensified operation to step up intelligence gathering, flush out Al-Shabaab sympathisers and foil other potential terrorist plans”.
As the crackdown continued, the multinational nature of the operation to combat terrorism in the region became apparent.
The Israeli intelligence service cooperated with their Kenyan counterparts in unmasking Iranian suspects and foiling planned attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa.
According to multiple sources, Kenyan security agents arrested two Iranians and circulated their photographs to Israeli, American, British and French intelligence services.
Mossad, the Israeli security service, returned a positive identification of the two, who have been arraigned in court for possessing explosives.
In Garissa, the massive security operation is unprecedented.
An unofficial curfew is in force and the town is in a state of virtual lockdown at sunset. Hundreds of policemen are on patrol in the town.
Reacting to claims made by Radio Andalus – Al-Shabaab’s propaganda station in Kismayu – that the extremist group was behind the church massacre, Mr Kangi said Kenya had suspected this all along.
Meanwhile, at a major meeting of religious and community leaders, secretary of the Council of Imams Hussein Mahat and Pastor John Mwaura of the Pastors Fellowship in Garissa appealed to the State to provide adequate security to all public venues and places of worship.
Additional reporting by Oliver Mathenge and Fred Mukinda