Most hostages rescued, most parts of shopping mall secure: Kenyan army

A soldier patrols as onlookers watch from a distance the security operation at the Westgate Shopping Center in Nairobi, September 22, 2013. (Reuters)

Kenya's army has said that most of the hostages caught up in the ongoing siege in upscale Nairobi shopping center on Sunday, stating that they seeking a “speedy conclusion” to the crisis, according to AFP.

Kenya’s Red Cross said on Sunday that the death toll had risen to 68.

The gunmen remain inside with hostages nearly 24 hours after the attack was launched with grenades and assault rifles.

Lenku said that there are 10 to 15 attackers involved. He said that Kenyan forces have control of the security cameras inside the mall. Combined military and police forces have surrounded the building.

Somali al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabaab said on Twitter that the attack was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

“The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar (infidels) inside their own turf,” al-Shabaab said on Twitter on Saturday, according to AFP.

“What Kenyans are witnessing at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military,” the group said.

Fresh gunfire

Gunfire erupted briefly on Sunday inside the Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist militants remain along with hostages, the day after around 59 people were killed in an attack by the al-Shabaab group.

Shortly before shots were heard, which erupted as Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was making a national address, more than a dozen security personnel dressed in green camouflage were seen moving into the building, according to a Reuters witness.

Kenyatta said on Sunday that his country “will not relent on the war on terror,” according to Reuters, when asked if he plans to pull Kenyan forces out of Somalia.

When asked whether hostages in the besieged mall had explosives strapped to them, Kenyatta said he had no comment to make.

Two French citizens were killed in Saturday’s “terrorist” attack on a Nairobi shopping mall, the French presidential palace said in a statement.

France's premier Francois Hollande “condemns the cowardly attack in the strongest terms and shares the pain of the family of our compatriots,” said the statement.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also said that at least three Britons were killed.

Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to combat al-Shabaab militants, and maintain a presencein the country as part of an African Union force that supports Somalia's internationally-backed government.


(With the Associated Press, Reuters and AFP)

 

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