Al Shabaab claims killing 47 including in the latest attack in Nairobi
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An American citizen was one of at least 15 people killed Tuesday when militants from the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabaab attacked an upscale hotel in Kenya’s capital city, a State Department official told The Associated Press.
The official said the department was offering condolences to the American’s family and friends, but declined to identify the individual publicly.
Al-Shabaab — which carried out the 2013 attack at the nearby Westgate Mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead — claimed responsibility for the carnage at the DusitD2 hotel complex, which includes bars, restaurants, offices and banks and is in a well-to-do neighborhood with many American, European and Indian expatriates.
“We regret to confirm that at approximately 3 p.m. today [Tuesday], a group of armed assailants attacked the Dusit Complex in a suspected terror attack. Security and emergency teams immediately responded to the incident and have cordoned off the area. The situation is being managed and residents are being screened and evacuated from the area,” police said in a statement.
A Kenyan police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP that 15 bodies had been taken to a nearby morgue. Al-Shabaab asserted that 47 people were killed but its Shahada news agency post gave no details.
Witnesses described thunderous explosions and seeing militants gunning down people at cafe tables. One bystander, who gave his name only as Ken, said he saw five bodies at the hotel entrance. Other people were shouting for help and “when we rushed back to try to rescue them, gunshots started coming from upstairs, and we had to duck because they were targeting us and we could see two guys shooting,” he said.
“We were changing our shifts, and that is when I heard a loud blast and people were screaming,” said Enoch Kibet, who works as a cleaner at the cafe and managed to crawl out a basement gate. “I couldn’t believe I was alive. The blast was so loud and shook the whole complex.”
Authorities sent special forces into the hotel to flush out the gunmen. Late Tuesday night, about eight hours after the siege began, Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said all of the buildings affected had been secured and that security forces were mopping up.
“I would like to reiterate that the situation is under control and the country is safe,” he said.
However, more gunfire was heard about an hour later, Kenyan broadcaster NTV reported. Some family members said they had been in touch with loved ones still hiding inside the complex,
Al-Shabab has vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight it since 2011. Tuesday’s violence came three years to the day after al-Shabab extremists attacked a
The Al Qaeda-linked group has killed hundreds of people in Kenya. In the deadliest attack, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an assault on Kenya’s Garissa University in 2015 that killed 147 people, mostly students.
Source: Whisper Eye