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
9 Dead as Gunmen Storm Ritzy Mall in Nairobi
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. A witness to the attacks on the upscale shopping mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand...   (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

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. (More Nairobi stories.)

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