British man and American woman among 14 people killed in Kenya hotel rampage claimed by al-Shabaab terrorist group
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A British man and an American woman were among the 14 killed when terrorists stormed a luxury Kenyan hotel launching a horrific bomb and gun attack.
Chilling CCTV shows armed men walking into the exclusive compound, and aiming their weapons before launching the deadly assault.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta today said 14 people were killed on the hotel complex in the capital and he declared the operation to neutralise the attackers over.
The coordinated assault began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank, and a suicide bombing in the hotel lobby that severely wounded a number of guests, said Kenya’s national police chief, Joseph Boinnet.
Terror group Al-Shabab claimed they have killed “47 enemies” – although that figure appears to be vastly exaggerated.
The US State Department said an American woman was killed, and the British High Commissioner in Kenya confirmed a British man had died.
Graphic images reveal the bodies of men, apparently killed during the initial blast, slumped at the tables where they were working.
Gunfire and explosions were heard shortly after 3pm local time yesterday as police entered the upmarket Dusit Hotel, and images showed black plumes of smoke over the area.
The attack sparked a huge police siege, with Boinnet saying special forces worked to “flush them out”.
He described the assault as a suspected terror attack, which Al-Shabab later claimed responsibility for.
Describing the ordeal, bystander Lucy Wanjiru said she had been trying to flee when she saw a woman on the ground floor get shot. She ended up in a washroom with several other scared people. Her friend Cynthia Kibe stayed in contact with her by phone overnight.
Kibe said: “I think I panicked when she told me that the gunshots are next to her. I had to keep telling her: ‘Just wait, help is on the way, they are almost there, they are almost there.’ And then at one point she was like: ‘Please tell me I am getting out of here alive’ and then it was just like my breaking point.”
A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that some bodies were seen in restaurants downstairs and in offices upstairs.
The hotel at 14 Riverside Drive is just over a mile from the Westgate Shopping Centre, where al-Shabaab terrorists slaughtered 67 people in a four day siege in 2013.
This afternoon the Somali terror group reportedly told Al Jazeera: “We are currently conducting an operation in Nairobi.”
In the aftermath of the initial attack, the area was left covered in blood and glass.
Yesterday horrific images showed several vehicles burned, sending black smoke rising over the complex.
Terrified survivors ducked behind cars screaming, while others took cover behind fountains and other features at the lush complex.
Footage from inside the hotel showed Kenyan security officers searching the building and terrified workers emerging from hiding while gunfire could be heard.
Some climbed out a window by ladder. One man got up from the floor where he appeared to be trying to hide under a piece of wood panelling, then showed his ID.
Others rushed – or were carried – from the scene, and others cowered behind members of the security forces taking them to safety.
“It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible,” said Charles Njenga, who fled the scene. “I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over.”
At least two explosions were heard after eyewitnesses claimed four gunmen gained access into the hotel. Conflicting local media reports suggest six gunmen were involved. The exact number is yet to be clarified.
Daily Nation reported that the group arrived in a car and shot security guards at the hotel gates, before hurling explosive into vehicles parked outside the hotel.
Officers from the Recce Squad, Flying Squad, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit and the bomb squad were then tasked with working to establish where the gunmen were within the building.
Surrounding buildings were evacuated by plain-clothed and uniformed officers, and a Kenyan Air Force helicopter hovered above the building.
Another woman who made it out of the carnage was reported as saying: “I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives.”
Images from the scene showed civilians with gunshot wounds being treated on the pavements, while other visibly distraught civilians were evacuated.
Other pictures show police and security forces approaching the building with weapons drawn.
The attack also marks three years since al-Shabaab fighter overran a Kenyan army El Adde base in Somalia, killing soldiers.
The Westlands area is a social and entertainment centre for expatriates and wealthy Kenyans, and houses one of the city’s largest shopping plazas.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man killed in the recent terrorist attack in Kenya. We are also supporting a British person who was wounded during the attack and is receiving medical attention. We stand ready to help any other British people affected.”
Source: The Sun