Kenya: 'Most' Hostages Freed in Mall Siege

But some militants still holed up inside
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2013 1:25 AM CDT
Kenya: 'Most' Hostages Freed in Mall Siege
Kenyan security forces take cover outside the Westgate Mall after firing started this morning.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

At daybreak today, terrorists still appeared to be in control of part of a shopping mall in Nairobi despite a major Kenyan military offensive overnight. The military says the assault freed most of the remaining hostages after a two-day standoff that left at least 68 people dead, but Reuters journalists reported still hearing gunfire from inside the mall early today. The al-Shabab militants, who say the attack is revenge for Kenyan intervention in Somalia, still have "no more than 10" hostages, a military spokesman says.

There have been reports that Israeli special forces are aiding the Kenyans, but President Uhuru Kenyatta—whose nephew was killed in the attack—says that despite the "numerous offers of assistance from friendly countries," this "remains an operation of the Kenyan security agencies," the New York Times reports. He said his government would not relent in the fight against al-Shabab. The FBI, meanwhile, says it is probing the militant group's claim that several American citizens were among the attackers. (More Nairobi stories.)

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