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
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)
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(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.

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