MOMBASA, Kenya (CNN) -- The world is on heightened alert after twin attacks on an Israeli-owned Mombasa hotel and an Israeli passenger plane, raising fears of a terrorist campaign against "soft" tourist targets.
Fifteen people died in Thursday's attack on the seaside resort in Kenya, including the three suicide bombers.
Nine of the victims were Kenyans, while the three Israelis who died included two children aged about eight, authorities said.
The atrocity in east Africa coincided with an attack on an Israeli passenger plane taking tourists to Tel Aviv. The aircraft touched down safely after the pilot reported seeing "smoke trails" behind the plane seconds after takeoff. (Full story)
Kenya's ambassador to Israel said there was "no doubt" that al Qaeda was behind the car bombing of the Israeli-owned hotel as well as the missile attack on the Israeli charter jet.
Suicide bombers drove a vehicle through gates and into the lobby of the Paradise Hotel in the port of Mombasa on Thursday morning, causing a huge explosion which tore through the building.
Screaming children covered in blood searched desperately for their parents amid the wreckage, witnesses said. (Full story)
Broken glass showered into rooms and the roof caught fire. The attack came moments after a group of Israeli tourists had arrived to check in.
Officials from Israel's foreign ministry said a group of dancers who were performing a Kenyan welcome dance for hotel guests were among the wounded.
John Malan Sawe, Kenyan Ambassador to Israel, said: "I do believe the people who have been responsible for terrorism all over the world must be the same people who have done it.
"I believe it must be connected to al Qaeda and it's up to them to deny."
An Israeli Army Radio report identified Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, of Egyptian origin, and Faed Ali Sayam, a Kenyan Muslim, as two of the three suicide bombers at the hotel. The third attacker was not identified, the report added.
A previously unknown group calling itself "The Army of Palestine" faxed a claim of responsibility to the Reuters News Agency in Beirut. Another such fax was received by Al-Manar, Hezbollah television, where editors said it did not appear credible.
In a faxed statement, the previously unheard-of group said it wanted to "make the world hear once again the voice of Palestinian refugees, and to cast light on Zionist terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza."
Bomb happened as guests were checking in at the hotel
CNN's Brent Sadler said it was not immediately possible to verify the claim.
The owner of the Paradise Hotel in Malindi, north of Mombasa, said three men fought with security guards before driving into the hotel.
Officials said at about 8:30 a.m. local time (0530 GMT) a vehicle pulled up to the entrance of the hotel and was refused entry. The men reversed and drove through the gate and into the reception area, triggering the explosion.
Meanwhile, at least one missile, possibly two, were fired at an Arkia Boeing 757, a weekly charter flight, seconds after it took off from Mombasa with 261 passengers and crew.
Kenyan authorities report finding two missile launch tubes in field near airport.
Pilot Rafi Marek decided to continue to Tel Aviv, the scheduled destination, after checking that the aircraft was working properly.
Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Today they fired missiles at Israeli planes, tomorrow they'll fire missiles at U.S. planes, British planes, planes from every state."
Kenya has seen previous terrorist attacks against Western interests. On August 7, 1998, a blast at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi killed 219 people and wounded 5,000. A nearly simultaneous attack on the U.S. Embassy in neighbouring Tanzania killed 12 people and injured more than 80.
Al Qaeda was blamed the Nairobi embassy bomb in which 219 died
The United States sentenced four men to life in prison without parole for their roles in the attacks. It accused them of having links to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network, who were also blamed for the September 11 attacks last year.
Mombasa is used by U.S. Navy vessels assigned to the Indian Ocean. Although the ships bring dollars to the city of one million people, many of the mostly Muslim residents resent Americans.
Muslims are a minority in Kenya as a whole, officially accounting for 10 percent of the country's 29 million people.