Extremists launched a deadly attack on a luxury hotel in Kenya's capital Tuesday, sending people fleeing in panic as explosions and heavy gunfire reverberated through the complex. A witness said he saw five bodies at the hotel entrance alone. Al-Shabab—the Somalia-based Islamic extremist group that carried out the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead—claimed responsibility. "It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible," said a man who ran from the scene. As night fell, gunfire continued more than two hours after the first shots were heard at the complex, which includes the DusitD2 hotel, along with bars, restaurants, banks, and offices and is in a well-to-do neighborhood with large numbers of American, European, and Indian expatriates. The latest from the AP:
- It was not clear how many attackers took part. "We are aware that armed criminals are holing up in the hotel, and special forces are now currently flushing them out," said Kenya's national police chief, Joseph Boinnet, describing the assault as a suspected terror attack.
- Boinnet gave no figures on the dead and wounded. However, a Kenyan police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media said that bodies were seen in restaurants downstairs and in offices upstairs, but "there was no time to count the dead." The BBC quotes an AFP photographer as having seen five dead bodies at tables on a restaurant terrace.