By Humphrey Malalo
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan court on Thursday found two Iranian men guilty of possessing 15 kg (33 pounds) of explosives and planning to carry out bombings in Kenyan cities last year.
Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi were arrested in Nairobi last June. Kenyan Investigators said at the time it was unclear whether the pair had ties to al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia or were part of another network.
Israel's domestic intelligence service Shin Bet said at the end of last year Kenya had arrested "two senior (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard Corps operatives who were in the midst of preparing a terrorist attack on an Israeli target in Kenya".
The agency did not say whether the two Iranians it referred to were Mohammed or Mousavi. But on Thursday one Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters in Jerusalem they were thought to be the same.
"I must appreciate our Kenyan security personnel for detecting and taking swift action to stop the catastrophe and ensure our country was safe," Waweru Kiarie, Nairobi's chief magistrate, said after convicting the two men.
Kenya was hit by a spate of bombings and attacks last year, which the Nairobi government mostly blamed on the Somali al Shabaab rebels its forces were hunting down inside Somalia.
They had both pleaded not guilty and will be sentenced on Monday. They face up to 15 years in prison, the prosecution said.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing By Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Richard Lough and Sonya Hepinstall)