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Nairobi Mall Assault toll rises to 43

Nairobi Mall Assault

Nairobi Mall Assault

43 killed and four other community members injured in the attack by armed terrorists on an Westgate mall in Nairobi in Kenya. And 200 wounded with an unknown number of hostages still being held. Grim-faced Kenyan soldiers warily searched the five-story building, looking for hostages and assailants.

The attackers entered the Westgate centre at about 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT), throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons. A children’s day event was being held at the time.

It was the deadliest terror attack in the nation since al Qaeda blew up the U.S. Embassy in 1998, killing more than two hundred people.

Nairobi mall shootout

Nairobi mall shootout

As the sun rose Sunday, the standoff between Kenyan forces and the attackers continued. Soldiers kept vigil outside the mall, guns dangling from their shoulders.

Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s leader in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack on Westgate mall, and said it was not backing down. In a message on its Twitter page, the group said “all Muslims” were escorted from the mall before the attack.

Senior police sources had described the attackers as a well-organised “terror gang” numbering around 10. The mall, popular with wealthy Kenyans and expatriates and part Israeli-owned, was packed with around 1,000 shoppers when it was attacked.

Nairobi shootout

Nairobi shootout

Paris confirmed that two French citizens were among those killed in what it condemned as a “cowardly” attack. Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said two Canadians, one of them a diplomat, were among the dead, while Xinhua said one Chinese woman was killed and her child wounded. The United States said its citizens were reportedly among those injured by the “despicable” act. British foreign secretary William Hague said there were “undoubtedly British nationals caught up in this so we should be ready for that”.

The UN security council condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the attack.

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