Kenya Mall Attack Leaves At Least 22 Dead; Al-Shabaab Militants Claim Credit

on September 21 2013 3:17 PM

Update, Saturday, 9:05 p.m. EDT: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on national TV that at least 39 people were killed and more than 150 were wounded in the Islamic terrorist attack at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Kenyatta said a number of his close family members were among the dead, AP reported.

Below is the original article published Saturday, 3:17 p.m. EDT:

Gunmen attacked an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens more, a Red Cross official said. 

The death toll climbed to 30 later in the day after a fierce gun battle between the police and the gunmen, and a hostage standoff, according to CNN. 

The gunmen threw grenades, fired automatic weapons and allegedly targeted non-Muslims at the upscale Westgate mall in Kenya's capital, CBS News reported.

According to several media outlets, several hours after the attack, Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked militant group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.

"The Mujahideen entered #WestgateMall today at around noon and are still inside the mall," the Islamic extremist group tweeted, CNN reported. 

The State Department condemned the attack.

"Our condolences go out to the families and friends of all victims," deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said in the statement. "We have reports of American citizens injured in the attack, and the U.S. Embassy is actively reaching out to provide assistance."

Harf said the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi was in contact with local authorities and offered assistance.

According to CNN, a Kenyan official said that one suspect was killed and about 100 people were injured.

Another suspected gunman is in the hospital and is being detained by authorities, the national police said on its Twitter account.

Authorities say as many as 36 hostages may still be held by the gunmen in the mall, according to CNN.

Kenyan military and police surrounded the mall, which had been hosting a children's event. Helicopters flew overhead as gunmen remained inside hours after the attack, although firing had subsided, according to reports.

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