Sep 21 2013
Deadly Islamic Terrorist attack on Israeli-owned Nairobi, Kenyan shopping mall. Gunmen massacre at least 30 after releasing anyone who could prove they were Islamic by reciting a Muslim prayer.
UK Daily Mail Kenyan police and soldiers have pinned down the remaining gunmen who opened fire at a shopping centre earlier today, killing 30 and leaving at least 50 others injured. A security source at the scene in the capital Nairobi confirmed moments ago the attackers have been isolated.
The source said: ‘The attackers have been isolated and are pinned down in an area on one of the floors – the rest of the mall seems to be secure.’ No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is looking increasingly likely the Somalia terrorist group al-Shabaab may be responsible.
A statement released through its Twitter account said it warned Kenya to pull its troops out of Somalia. However, the group has did not take responsibility for the attack.
One witness who was embroiled in the situation claimed that the gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that only non-Muslims would be targeted when they opened fire at the upmarket mall of the Westlands district around midday.
At least two dozen people, wounded and dead, were wheeled out on stretchers and in shopping trolleys by security guards, while others were seen walking out of the building, clutching bloodied clothing around their injuries.
Locals and tourists who were out shopping on the sunny Saturday in Kenya ran screaming from the building and cars were left abandoned as attackers threw grenades and fired AK47s.
Over the course of an hour people streamed from the building, at least half a dozen covered in blood and clutching small children to them. The Kenya Red Cross Society now says that 30 have been reported dead and at least 50 wounded.
At least nine people were carried out of the building bleeding from wounds to their limbs and two others were wheeled unconscious from the scene in shopping trolleys.
Armed police arrived on the scene nearly half an hour later and could be heard shouting ‘get out, get out’ as scores of shoppers fled the building. Smoke billowed out of the entrance, which was believed to have been caused by the grenade attack.
Dutch embassy employee Rob Vandijk said he had been eating at a restaurant in the shopping mall when gunmen threw hand grenades inside the building. People began to scream and drop to the ground, he said, as machine gun fire rang out across the busy mall.
Police say that attackers are holding seven hostages in the building, and other people remain hidden inside. ‘I saw three of the attackers dressed in black and with covered faces and they were carrying heavy rifles,’ said another witness.
Kenyan soldiers were also deployed to take part in the operation to bring the shopping complex back under control. Police helicopters circled over the building as sporadic gunfire could be heard more than two hours after the attack was launched. Police cordoned off the roads surrounding the mall in central Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood.
Manish Turohit, 18, who escaped after hiding in the parking garage for two hours, says he saw gunmen with AK-47s and vests with hand grenades on them inside the centre. Police initially believed the attack was an attempt by about ten armed men to rob a shop.
But Elijah Kamau, a witness, told AP that the gunmen had announced that they were targeting non-Muslims as they began their attack at the centre. Some of those who escaped were ‘challenged to recite a Muslim prayer and were then let out’, according to Allan Sayers, who contacted MailOnline and said he was in the Westgate mall five minutes before the attack.
Mr Sayers said people were still in text and phone contact with some of the hostages. ‘There are still many hostages still inside and reports of many more dead,’ he said.
Somali’s rebel group al-Shabab vowed in late 2011 to carry out a large-scale attack in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenya’s sending of troops into Somalia to fight the Islamic insurgents.
The Somali militant group al-Shabaab had earlier threatened to strike the mall, as it is a popular destination for the city’s expatriate community. One victim said that he had been shot by a man who appeared to be Somali, while others noted the gunmen were speaking in a foreign language.