39 Dead in Kenya Mall Attack: President

Americans among those injured

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 21, 2013 7:36 AM CDT | Updated Sep 21, 2013 4:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – The death toll from an attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi today has now reached at least 39, with another 150 injured, the country's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said in a national TV address. Kenyatta says he "personally lost family members" in the attack on the Westgate mall, the BBC reports. "We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to," he promised Kenyans in his address. "We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime." Americans are among those injured, reports CNN, though no further details were available.

"They just came in and threw a grenade," one witness tells AP. "We were running and they opened fire. They were shouting and firing." The Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for what it is calling the "Westgate spectacle", reports the BBC. On Twitter, al-Shabab says "all Muslims inside #Westgate were escorted out by the Mujahideen before beginning the attack," reports CNN. It also tweeted that it still had control of the mall, but after 10 hours of fighting, Kenyan police tweeted that they have "isolated and pinned down" the attackers. A New York Times photographer happened to be nearby when the attackers opened fire—his photos from inside the mall are incredible, though very graphic.

Armed special force aim their guns at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday, Sept. 21 2013, after gunmen threw grenades and opened fire during an attack that left multiple dead and dozens wounded....   (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Armed police leave after entering the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims...   (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
A wounded man is escorted outside the Westgate Mall.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Civilians who had been hiding inside flee from the mall.   (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
A security officer helps a wounded woman outside the mall.   (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)
A woman who had been hiding during the gun battle runs for cover after police, seen behind, enter the mall.   (AP Photo/Jonathan Kalan)
Crowds gather outside the Westgate mall in Nairobi.   (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)
People run from the mall in Nairobi.   (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)
A Red Cross assistant helps a child outside the mall.   (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
A rescue worker helps a child outside the Nairobi mall.   (AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)
An injured person arrives at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after the attack.   (AP Photo/Jason Straziuso)
Shoppers are helped to evacuate the area.   (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
An injured man is trreated outside an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday.   (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
Two women hug outside an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi.   (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
A soldier moves to take up a position outside th Nairobi mall.   (AP Photo/ Jason Straziuso)
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