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Kenyan troops 'control' mall, hostages evacuated

Published: Updated:

Kenyan troops are “in control” of Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, the Kenyan interior ministry announced overnight Monday.

The ministry confirmed it was in control in a Twitter post, some 60 hours after Islamist gunmen stormed the complex and killed at least 62 people, reported AFP.

All hostages are believed to have been evacuated from a Nairobi shopping mall and Kenyan special forces are not encountering any resistance, a government spokesman said on late Monday.

He said the three-day-long siege by al-Shabaab militants was at its last stage.

“We think that everyone, the hostages, have been evacuated but we don't want to take any chances,” said government spokesman Manoah Esipisu. “The special forces are doing their job and yes, I think we are near the end,” according to AFP.

Kenyan police ealier on Monday said they had detained over 10 suspects.

“We've arrested more than 10 individuals for questioning in relation to the Westgate attack,” police said on Twitter.

Kenyan security forces remained locked in a fierce battle until late Monday with Somali Islamist gunmen inside the upmarket mall, where thick black smoke billowed out following large explosions, AFP reported.

Kenya's defense ministry said that “three terrorists have been killed so far”, while “a few others have suffered injuries.”

Operations continued but troops had “sealed all possible escape routes”, the ministry said in a statement, adding that the chances of any terrorists escaping were “very slim.”

A Kenyan security source and a Western intelligence official said Israeli forces were also involved in the operation, along with British and U.S. agents, according to AFP.

Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents have claimed the attack, which began midday on Saturday, when the gunmen marched into the complex, firing grenades and automatic weapons and sending panicked shoppers fleeing.

(With AFP)