politicians against inciting violence, saying it was possible the attack was linked to politics. The claim was immediately dismissed by security experts.
Al-Shabab later said it carried out the attack because of Kenya’s “brutal oppression of Muslims in Kenya”, including the killings of Muslim scholars in Mombasa. The group said that such attacks would continue “as you continue to invade our lands and oppress innocent Muslims.”
Tourists were then warned: “Kenya is now officially a war zone and as such any tourists visiting the country do so at their own peril. Foreigners with any regard for their safety and security should stay away from Kenya. “Kenya’s top police commander, David Kimaiyo, said the death toll was 48. A police spokeswoman said authorities believe that several dozen attackers took part.
Mpeketoni is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of the tourist center of Lamu. Any tourism in Mpeketoni is mostly local, with few foreigners visiting the area. The town is 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the Somali border and 360 miles (600 kilometers) from Nairobi.
Kenya has experienced a wave of gunfire and bomb and grenade attacks in recent months. The U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Canada have all recently upgraded their terror threat warnings for the country. U.S. Marines behind sandbag bunkers have for some days been stationed on the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
Harald Kampa, who heads an association of hoteliers and caterers on the coast, said he wasn’t aware of any immediate tourist cancellations because of the attack. But he said the attack could soon prompt more cancellations. Kenya’s deteriorating security situation and travel warnings from foreign embassies has already hit the country’s tourism sector.
The region saw a spate of kidnappings of foreign tourists in 2011 that Kenya said was part of its motivation for attacking al-Shabab in Somalia. Since those attacks and subsequent terror warnings, tourism has dropped off sharply around Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the country’s oldest continually inhabited town. Al-Shabab claimed responsbility for a double bombing in Kampala, Uganda during the 2010 World Cup final that killed more than 70 people.