Kenya terror attack: As it happened

Fresh gunfire erupted on Monday morning as the Kenyan Army troops have intensified action against the militants.

Updated: Sep 24, 2013, 00:41 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha/Kamna Arora

12:15 am: Obama extends support

US President Obama offers Kenya the law enforcement support to deal with the shopping centre attack.

11:30 pm: `No hostages left`

Kenya`s Interior Minister tells BBC it is unlikely that there are more hostages in the complex. He, however, admitted that operations were not over.

10:32 pm: Fire in mall put out

The Kenyan police confirm that fire in Westgate mall has been put out. They further refuted reports of another fire.

10:16 pm: Kenya`s President shares grief

As security forces launched "a final assault" to end the siege by al Qaeda-allied al Shabab terrorists, Kenya`s President Uhuru Kenyatta said: "We are a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society. Our diversity is also our strength. As your President, as a leader and as a Kenyan, I feel the pain of every life we`ve lost, share your grief at our nation`s loss."

10:11 pm: `Stay away from Westgate`

The Kenya police urge "all curious onlookers to KEEP AWAY from West Gate for their own safety (sic)".

10:00 pm: Three terrorists killed so far

Kenya`s Interior Ministry confirms that three terrorists have been killed so far and adds that a few others have suffered injuries.

9:30 pm: US stands with Kenyan people, says John Kerry

The United States is monitoring the bloody siege in a Kenyan shopping mall and will stand with the country`s people in the days ahead, US Secretary of State John Kerry said. "Ruthless and valueless terrorists remain a serious challenge everywhere in the world as we all know, whether it`s in downtown Manhattan or in a mall in Nairobi, or anywhere else in the world," Kerry said in remarks to a conference at the United Nations.

"And all of us have a responsibility to remain vigilant. We stand with the Kenyan people.... they are resilient people and they will need the world`s support in the coming difficult days."

9:11 pm: More than 10 people arrested

Kenyan police say over 10 people have been arrested over mall attack in Nairobi.

9:05 pm: `Westgate fire being contained`

Our forces, the multi-agencies team, are in control of all the floors at #Westgate the fire is being contained, tweets Kenya`s Ministry of Interior.

8:50 pm: `All terrorist male`

All terrorist are male, says Kenya Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku.

8:32 pm: 11 KDF soldiers injured

Kenya Defence Forces tweets: "Regrettably, 11 KDF soldiers have been injured in this operation and are receiving medical attention at the Defence Forces Memorial Hospital."

8:05 pm: `Kenyan forces in control`

Kenya Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku tweets: Our forces are in control of all the floors.

7:35 pm: More gunshots heard

Ending the lull at the Westgate mall, gunshots were heard inside, reported BBC. This indicates that the fight is still on.

7.30 pm: Security beefed up in Kenya

In the wake of the deadly attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, security has been intensified at all entry and exit points in the country.

6.53 pm: Shooting outside mall

A news agency`s reporter has tweeted, saying there have been some shootings in streets outside the Westgate mall.

6:51 pm: Kenya`s Interior Ministry `makes several arrests`

Kenya`s Interior Ministry says it has made several arrests. An official tweet states: "ALERT: We`ve arrested some individuals at the airport for questioning. We ask officers dealing with vital ID docs to be very careful."

6:45 pm: Multiple explosions resounding from mall

A number of explosions from inside the mall could be heard. People could be seen shouting on streets. Also, there is a clash between police and onlookers.

6:30 pm: `It`s Kenya`s 9/11`

Speaking at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Karim Khan, the lawyer of Kenya`s Vice President William Ruto, describes the Nairobi attack as "Kenya`s 9/11". He asked for his client to be excused in order to return to Kenya.

6:10 pm: Kenya`s President appeals for calm

Kenya`s Interior Ministry calls on Twitter for a moment of silence for the dead and wounded. And there`s an appeal for calm from the President in a tweet from @InteriorKE: "The President UKenyatta is with you during this time, he is being briefed from time to time and is appealing to you to be calm."

6:04 pm: Red Cross revises Nairobi mall attack death toll

Kenya`s Red Cross has revised its fatality figures from 69 to 62.

5:50 pm: Indian PM urged to help Nairobi terror attack victims

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has urged India`s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to use his good offices to ensure safety of Indian victims in the Nairobi terror attack, which has left 69 people dead so far.

5:30 pm: Two gunmen killed

Kenya`s Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said two Islamic extremists were killed on Monday. Meanwhile, Kenya Chief of Defense forces General Julius Karangi said he believes the attackers are "a multinational collection from all over the world".

5:00 pm: More hostages rescued as Kenya Police gain upper hand over militants

As the offensive against the militants was stepped up, more hostages were rescued and Kenyan Police gained upper hand over the militants, said Kenyan Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo in a tweet.

4:50 pm: More casualties feared as Police storm Westgate mall

As Kenyan police stormed the Westgate shopping mall in order to end the shostage crisis, the death toll was expected to rise, a security official told the BBC.

4:40 pm: More troops on the move; ambulances, fire engines rushing towards the mall

Plumes of dark smoke continued to billow out of the beseiged mall as the site of attack saw a drastic turn of events with the Army launching its final assault to end the hostage crisis. Ambulances and fire engines were reportedly seen rushing towards the mall.

4:30 pm: Kenya Police instructs people to stay away from Westgate mall

As Kenyan Army strengthened the counter-attack against the militants inside the mall, the police directed the public to stay away from the area of attack, keeping in view the security concerns.

4: 20 pm: Several explosions heard as Army steps up offensive

Several explosions were reported and dark smoke was seen rising from the mall as a news agency reported that it was the Army that had caused the blasts. According to the reports, the Army was trying to get into the mall through the roof.

4:00 pm: ICC adjourns Kenyan Dy Prez` trial in wake of mall attack

The International Criminal Court adjourned the trial of Kenya`s Deputy President William Ruto and given him a break of one week so that he could return home to deal with the mall hostage crisis. Ruto was being tried on charges relating to violence following elections in 2007.

3:40 pm: British fatalities rise to four in Kenya hostage crisis

The number of Britons dead in the Westgate mall attack has increased to four, tweeted Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun`s political editor.

3:10 pm: US to hit targets inside Kenya?

A former US General has said that America was considering to hit al Shabab militants` in Kenya by "refining target lists".
Former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said,
"They`re developing targets . . . and refining target lists, trying to fill in any gaps that we possibly have" on potential locations of al Shabaab strongholds in Kenya".
2:50 pm: Al Shabab commander denies `White Widow` or Westerners involved in the attack

An al Shabab military commander named Abu Omar, who claims to be in contact with the gunmen inside the mall, claimed that no women or Westerners were involved in the attack.
Speaking to the BBC radio, he said the reports of Britons or Americans being involved were "baseless rumours".
"To verify, we do not employ our sisters to carry out military attacks of this type," he added.

2:20 pm: Be patient, not the time to give up: Interior Ministry tells Kenyans

Even as the fight against the militants rages on inside the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenyan Interior Ministry in a tweet has urged people to remain patient.

2:00 pm: Death toll 69, says Kenya Red Cross

The death toll in the Nairobi mall attack has risen by one to hit 69, Kenya Red Cross tweeted. It also added that a total of 63 were still unaccounted for.

1:40 pm: `Fate of hostages not clear yet`

As the hostage crisis inside the Westgate mall continues, a Kenya military spokesperson said that the fate of the hostages remained unclear. Earlier a statement from Kenyan Defence forces had claimed that "most of the hostages" had been rescued and the Army had taken control of `most` of the mall.

Also Read: Nairobi mall attack: ‘Will kill hostages if Kenya Army uses force’

1: 20 pm: Nairobi mall attack likened to 2008 Mumbai attacks

Likening the Nairobi mall seige to 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, US Republican Peter King said that the attack showed that al Qaeda and its affiliates are still able to strike terror into the hearts of people.

1:00 pm: Al Shabab recruited 50 people for the mall attack in the US

In order to launch the mall attack in Nairobi, al Shabab had recruited 50 people from the Somali American community in the US, said the United States House Homeland Security Committee.
Peter King, a Republican, said that at least 20 Somali Americans recruited by al-Shabab group remained active, the Huffington Post reported.

12:50 pm: Al Shabab threaten to kill Nairobi mall hostages

As more Army troops were directed inside the mall to take on the militants, a warning has been issued by an al Shabab militant on an Islamic website.
"We authorise the mujahedeen inside the building to take actions against the prisoners as much as they are pressed," Shebab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement.

12:40 pm: Two British hostage-takers in Nairobi mall

Out of some 15 gunmen that the al Shabab named on Twitter, two were British men from London - Liban Adam and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon. Meanwhile, three Britons have been confirmed dead in the attack.

12:20 pm: Al Shabab jot down "140 characters of vengenace" on Twitter

As the militants inside Kenyan mall were engaged in orchestrating the bloodshed by terrorising and firing at the innocents, others from the al Shabab were on Twitter - jotting down "140 characters of vengeance". Once thought to be hiding in deserts, the militants turned out to be tech-savvy a sthey posted latest updates on Twitter. They posted the names of hostage-takers, showing off how their gunmen inside the mall came from various countries like US, UK, Finland, Somalia and Kenya.

10:50 am: Victims belong to 10 different countries

Kenyan officials say that the victims of the Westgate mall attack belong to at least 10 different countries. Earlier reports said that two Indians, two Canadians and two French were killed. Over 175 are said to be injured in the attack other than 68 being killed.

10.40 am: People ordered to lie down

The people around the mall were seen crouching behind cars as a BBC reporter told that the authorities had ordered the people to lie down as the standoff continued inside the mall.

10: 00 am: Heavy gunfire erupts in Nairobi mall

Fresh bouts of sustained and heavy gunfire are reported from the Westgate mall in Nairobi where 10-15 militants are said to be holed up still. The gunfire comes as Kenya Army intensifies the action to tackle militants. Even though most of the hostages had been rescued, as Kenya Army said in a statement, 10 people remain trapped inside the mall, according to the reports.

Even as Kenya mall standoff that claimed 68 lives, entered third day today, the al Shabab militants who claim to be behind the terror attack, remain holed up inside Nairobi’s upscale Westgate shopping centre.

Fresh gunfire erupted Monday morning as Kenya Army troops have intensified action against the militants.

The mall is popular with expats and affluent Kenyans and was targeted by the al Shabab militants in retaliation to Kenyan Army support to UN mission in Somalia.

The attack at #WestgateMall is just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders,” al-Shabab said on Twitter.

In another tweet the militants said: “For long we have waged war against the Kenyans in our land, now it’s time to shift the battleground and take the war to their land #Westgate.”

At least 4000 Kenyan troops are fighting militants in Somali along with African Union troops.

The attack seems to be the worst terrorist attack in Nairobi since al Qaeda attacked the US embassy in 1998, killing more than 200.

Two Indians, two French and two Canadian including one diplomat were dead in the attack while four Americans were reportedly injured.