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22 killed in Nairobi attack

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The scene after gunmen stormed an upmarket mall in Nairobi on Saturday.Photo: AFP
The scene after gunmen stormed an upmarket mall in Nairobi on Saturday.Photo: AFP

Gunmen hurled grenades and opened fire on Saturday, killing 22 people in an attack at an upscale mall in Kenya’s Capital that was hosting a children’s day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said. The attackers remained inside and firing subsided as military surrounded the mall hours after the attack. People continued to trickle out from hiding places within the Westgate mall, which is frequented by expatriates and rich Kenyans in Nairobi’s affluent Westlands neighbourhood.

“We are treating this as a terrorist attack,” said police chief Benson Kibue, adding that there are likely no more than 10 attackers involved.

Police did not say what group was responsible for the attack.

Somalia’s rebel group al-Shabab vowed in late 2011 to carry out a large-scale attack in Nairobi in retaliation for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight the Islamists.

Off duty Sgt Major Frank Mugungu said he saw four male attackers and one female, and that he could clearly identify one of the gunmen as a Somali, though he could not identify the rest.

The Westgate mall, with shops like Nike, Adidas and Bose, has Israeli ownership, and security personnel have in the past identified the mall as a likely terror target in the city. -- AP

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