Kenya, Israel Reportedly Agreed on Security Cooperation During President’s Visit

Israel and Kenya agreed to cooperate in the war against terror during the visit of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Jerusalem last week, the Nairobi-based journal The East African reported on Saturday.

Diplomatic sources in Nairobi told the journal that discussions on how Israel can help Kenya in the war against terrorism, specifically against the Somali Al Shabaab militants, dominated the discussions between Kenyatta and Israeli officials last week.

Al-Shabaab has been responsible for several massive terrorist attacks in Kenya, including the Westgate Mall attack in 2013 that left 63 people dead and the 2015 attack on a university in the north-east of the country in which 157 people were killed.

Kenya, for its part, maintains troops in southern Somalia as part of a pan-African peace support mission to Somalia. At least 200 Kenyan troops were killed or captured in an Al-Shebaab attack on a Kenyan base in the town of El-Adde last month.

Kenya wants Israel increase it counterterrorism operations in the country and in the East African region and make them more overt. Israel has reportedly conducted counter-terrorism operations in the region since the bombing of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa in 2002, but has kept its activities under wraps, according to The East African.

The journal quoted Nadav Peldman, Israeli deputy ambassador to Kenya, as saying that the security cooperation between the two countries goes back 40 years, to when Kenya provided Israel with logistical assistance during the Entebbe raid in neighboring Uganda.

“Israel is ready and willing to assist Kenya and any other nation for that matter to fight terrorism whenever it appears. Terrorism is a heinous crime that should be confronted with the same force it projects,” Peldman told the paper.

Kenyatta told President Reuven Rivlin last week that Kenya wants to benefit from Israel’s expertise in the war against terror and regional security matters. President Rivlin said that Israel stands with Kenya in the face of the threats posed by terrorists to the country.