(UPDATE)Terrorist Attack at Upscale Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya

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UPDATE:

The Washington Post reports that most of the hostages in the Nairobi mall standoff have been released, according to a Kenyan military spokesman:

Kenyan security forces have swept into an upscale Nairobi mall in an effort to end a two-day standoff with heavily armed assailants that left 68 dead, and most of the hostages were rescued, according to officials.

Al-Shabab, the Somali militia linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in Kenya since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. Another 175 people were injured, while up to 30 people had been held hostage.

Read more here

Original Post:

The internet is full of reports on the cowardly terrorist attack in a crowded upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, today.

An attack by “gunmen believed to be linked to a Somali terrorist group” that according to the New York Times killed at least 39 people and wounded more than 150 — “one of the most chilling terrorist attacks in East Africa since Al Qaeda blew up two American embassies in 1998.”

Secretary of State John Kerry issued the following statement:

Today’s terrorist massacre of so many innocents is a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant. I want to express my deepest condolences – and the condolences of our entire nation – to the families and friends of the victims in Nairobi today. While the casualty count is still to be determined, we know already that there are at least 30 innocent men, women, and children dead and 60 injured, including several American citizens. We have offered our assistance to the Government of Kenya and stand ready to help in any way we can.

Although we have no reports of any Americans killed today, we have lost a member of our own State Department family: the wife of a foreign service national working for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The men and women of USAID work courageously around the world to help people striving for a better life. While we mourn with her family today, we also pledge our commitment to do whatever we can to assist in bringing the perpetrators of this abhorrent violence to justice, and to continue our efforts to improve the lives of people across the globe.

Attacks like this can’t change who we are, a people committed to peace and justice for all, but rather must reaffirm our determination to counter extremism and promote tolerance everywhere. As we prepare to bring the world’s leaders together at the United Nations next week, we are reminded again in tragedy of our common humanity.

Image: www.shutterstock.com

  

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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