WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 -- Condemning the embassy bombings in Africa as 'cowardly,' President Clinton ordered a tightening of security at U.S. missions worldwide and promised an all-out hunt for those responsible. Clinton also ordered U.S. flags worldwide flown at half-staff in memory of those killed -- including at least three U.S. diplomats and one U.S. dependent -- by the bombings in the East African nations of Kenya and Tanzania. The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert informing U.S. nationals overseas of the bombings, warning them to not visit either nation and to take added security precautions. Commenting during a White House gathering on an unrelated matter, Clinton said he has also dispatched teams of U.S. medical workers, disaster relief experts, criminal investigators, and counter-terrorism specialists to the two countries. The president said: 'These acts of terrorist violence are abhorrent, they are inhuman. We will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice, no matter what or how long it takes.' Clinton said the bombings, occurring within five minutes of each other around 10:35 a.m. (3:35 a.m. EDT) in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 'appear to have been coordinated,' but he said no one had claimed immediate responsibility. U.S. officials said they received 'no credible threats' prior to the two bombings. Clinton said the U.S. embassies in both capitals appear to have been the targets of the bombings, and that both suffered 'large-scale damage.' The president offered words of reassurance to the thousands of U.S. officials stationed overseas, saying: 'The work you do every day is vital to our security and prosperity.
Your well-being is therefore vital to us, and we will do everything we can to ensure that you can serve in safety. 'To the families and loved ones of the American and African victims of these cowardly attacks, you are in our thoughts and prayers.' Clinton added: 'We are determined to get answers and justice.' Clinton's special envoy for Africa, former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, urged caution before speculating about the groups that might be responsible, recalling the immediate blame erroneously attributed to Middle East terrorists following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Jackson told CNN both Kenya and Tanzania are firmly pro-American, and that the placement of the bombs suggested they were intended to kill and injure many people in those countries. He noted the embassy site in Nairobi, in particular, is located in an extremely busy part of the city. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who cut short a visit to Italy for the wedding of State Department spokesman James Rubin and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, issued a statement in Washington condemning the 'cowardly acts of apparent terrorism' and vowing to find those responsible. Albright, who was expected back in Washington late Friday night, reiterated Clinton's vows to bring those responsible to justice, saying the U.S. government 'will spare no effort and use all means at our disposal to track down and punish the perpetrators of these outrageous acts.' ---
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