Terrorists overtook a mall in Nairobi, Kenya at lunchtime on Saturday (Sept. 21) killing 30 people and wounding another 50. At press time, the standoff was still taking place in the upscale Westgate mall, where the masked gunmen have taken hostages. Al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group that has connections to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar inside their own turf,” read a tweet from the Al Shabab press office. “The attack at #WestGateMall just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders.” They also followed up by saying that “there will be no negotiations whatsoever.”
Reports out of Kenya allege that up to 36 people are still being held hostage and that the terrorists are using these hostages as human shields. The group was targeting non-Muslims and foreigners in its attack. The Al-Shabaab tweeted that “all Muslims inside #Westgate were escorted out by the Mujahideen before” the siege.
Kenyan police say the attackers are cornered. One suspect was killed as the Kenyan army and special forces have swept in, while one was injured and taken to a hospital.
“As a society, we are wounded and we weep; but as a nation, we must rise and prevail,” tweeted Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
Kenya’s Deputy President H.E. William Ruto called the attack a “cowardly and dastardly act,” and promised to “bring to account the perpetrators and their accomplices.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta has addressed the incident, saying he lost “very close family members” in the terrorist attack. According to Kenyatta, the death toll is at 39 people and more than 150 have been injured. Special forces are still responding to the attack.