Toll Hits 59 in Kenya Mall Attack

Al-Shabab militants still holed up in Westgate Mall

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 22, 2013 5:29 AM CDT

(Newser) – The attack by al-Qaeda-linked militants al-Shabab yesterday at an upscale mall in Nairobi has now killed at least 59 people and wounded 175, Kenya's interior secretary said today. Multiple barrages of gunfire erupted this morning from inside the building where there is a hostage standoff with Islamic extremists nearly 24 hours after they attacked using grenades and assault rifles. "The priority is to save as many lives as possible," Joseph Lenku said, reassuring the families of hostages in the upscale Westgate mall. Kenyan forces have already rescued about 1,000 people, he said. Lenku said there are 10 to 15 attackers involved, and Kenyan forces have control of the security cameras inside the mall.

Former Kenyan PM Raila Odinga said officials couldn't determine the exact number of hostages inside the mall. "There are quite a number of people still being held hostage on the third floor and the basement area where the terrorists are still in charge," Odinga said. Kenyans and foreigners were among those confirmed dead, including French, Canadians, and Chinese. Daylight brought some good news, as Kenyan media reported that several people in hiding in the mall escaped to safety, suggesting that not everyone still inside is being held by al-Shabab.

Trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Islamic extremist gunmen lobbed grenades and fired assault rifles...   (Ben Curtis)
Trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Islamic extremist gunmen lobbed grenades and fired assault rifles...   (Ben Curtis)
Kenya security personnel move to take their positions outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan...   (Sayyid Azim)
Kenya security personnel move to their positions as others stand guard outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside...   (Sayyid Azim)
Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces carry a wounded colleague, following the sound of explosions and gunfire, out of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Associated Press journalists...   (Ben Curtis)
Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces carry a wounded colleague, following the sound of explosions and gunfire, out of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. A barrage of gunfire...   (Ben Curtis)
Trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Islamic extremist gunmen lobbed grenades and fired assault rifles...   (Ben Curtis)
Kenya security personnel move to their positions as others stand guard outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside...   (Sayyid Azim)
An armed police officer takes cover during a bout of gunfire outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Groups of onlookers gather on a road looking down over the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces walk out, following explosions and gunfire, of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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