Daily Israel Report

Kenya: Mall Siege Continues as Fresh Gunfire Erupts

Over 60 people remain unaccounted for at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
By Adam Ross
First Publish: 9/24/2013, 4:23 PM

Fire engines and military vehicles in front of Westgate mall
Fire engines and military vehicles in front of Westgate mall
Reuters

As officials in Kenya reported the Westgate Shopping Mall was in their hands, new heavy gunfire has erupted inside the mall on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day Kenyan authorities said the siege on the mall was very nearly over. Meanwhile Al Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-linked Somalian group behind the attack, has claimed its gunmen were still at large in the shopping center "amid countless dead bodies." 

At least 62 people have been confirmed killed so far in the attack. The fresh gun battles heard from the mall have increased fears that an end to the horrific assault, now into its fourth day, may still be some time away. 

Gunmen - and, it is emerging, at least one female terrorist - stormed the mall, hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately with AK 47s as the building was packed with both locals and tourists enjoying the end of the weekend.

More than 170 people have been wounded, and although over 200 civilians have been rescued, according to CNN, over 60 people are still unaccounted for with fears that some may have been killed. Others may have escaped or may remain hiding inside the besieged mall.

The Westgate mall stretches over 350,000 square feet, and houses some 80 stores some of which are supermarket size, leading to a complicated operation to hunt terrorists down.

As the operation to end the siege continued, authorities have also arrested more than ten suspects at the country's airports which have seen security tightened in response to the attack.

In light of intelligence reports that others involved in orchestrating the attack could attempt to flee, the Kenyan Immigration Department said that security had been bumped up at all entries and exits across the country.

In an interview with PBS Newshour, Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed confirmed claims made by Al Shabaab that "two or three" of the attackers were American, and that another was a British woman who had "done this many times before."

Amid the carnage, stories of courage have also emerged with one four year-old from Great Britain confronting and even chastising one of the gunmen – before escaping with his life.