Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said 39 people were killed and 60 injured in the terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall Saturday, Sept. 21. In an address to the nation, he said the operation to “neutralize” the attackers, who were holding hostages, continues and the entire country was on terror alert. Kenyatta appealed for blood donors to come forward to help save the injured in hospitals.
The attack claimed later by the Somali, Al Qaeda-linked Somali Al-Shabaab began when a large group of gunmen sprayed the crowds with gunfire and grenades and was, engaged by police forces in fierce combat. The fate of a number of Israelis, some of whom owned businesses in the mall, is still being checked, although three were reportedly rescued. A Kenyan minister reported that Israeli Mossad agents were co-opted to the investigation. The fate of a number of hostages taken is unknown. The US State Department reported that Americans were among the injured.
Claiming the attack, Al Shabaab said they had repeatedly warned Kenya to pull its troops out of Somalia, where since last year they have been helping the Mogadishu government recover the country from the al Qaeda-linked insurgent group. The Kenyan presidency reported that the single gunman who was detained in the assault died in custody from bullet wounds.
debkafile reported earlier:
A large number of these terrorists rode into the attack on motorcycles, carrying large quantities of ammo. As terrified people rushed out, many holding children, the gunmen seized hostages and barricaded themselves inside the building. Heavy military and police forces are surrounding the mall. Witnesses who escaped reported that the terrorists, masked and clad in black clothing had singled out white people and foreigners and shouted to fellow Muslims to escape.
The exclusive Westgate centre is frequented by wealthy Kenyans and expatriates from in the country and outside. Police have urged residents to stay away from the area.
debkafile: The terrorists’ modus operandi points to al Qaeda gang or an affiliate which reached Nairobi from neighboring Somalia or the sea. Or else they are members of the Islamist al-Shabaab terrorist movement of Somalia, which is linked to al Qaeda. This violent group has vowed revenge against Kenya for its military support of the Mogadishu government.
In the past year, Kenyan and Somali troops captured large areas of southern and central Somalia from Al Shabaab insurgents. In a ground, air and naval assault, they ousted Al Shabaab from the key Somali port town of Kismayo, their last major urban stronghold.