Kenyan Forces Say They Have ‘Full Control’ of Westgate Mall
(NAIROBI, Kenya) — Kenyan authorities have claimed “full control” of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi as they sweep the shopping center for any remaining terrorists, hostages and dead bodies four days after an al Qaeda-linked rebel group launched an attack that left at least 62 people dead and 175 injured.
“The West Gate Mall is under the full control of gov’t forces and we are carrying out a sweep to ensure its safe for everyone,” Kenyan police tweeted Tuesday on their official Twitter account.
Kenya’s Foreign Minister told PBS Monday night that “two or three Americans” were involved in the attack on the upscale mall. Speaking in New York, Amina Mohamed said a British woman was also among the perpetrators.
She’s the first official to publicly allege that U.S. nationals were involved in the attack. The FBI says it has been unable to verify that, and other Kenyan officials have said no women were involved, only men dressed as women.
Sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard earlier Tuesday morning coming from the mall after Kenyan authorities said on Monday they killed three suspected terrorists and arrested at least 10 others.
Kenyan police said the explosions resulted from their “doing clean-up of explosives that had been set up by the terrorists.”
A Twitter account claiming to be the terrorist group al-Shabab, which has claimed responsibility for the attack, has tweeted that militants are still holding hostages alive inside and that its fighters are “still holding their ground.”
Either way, Kenya’s Ministry of the Interior tweeted earlier Tuesday, “Westgate remains a crime scene, keep off the area. Roads leading to this mall have been cordoned off.”
Meanwhile, officials have told ABC News that the FBI is preparing to deploy a full team to Nairobi to investigate the terror attack. Agents are coming from a variety of places but the case is being led by the New York field office, which handles crimes against Americans that occur in Africa.
The agency is awaiting a final signoff from the Kenyan government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to address the nation later on Tuesday to give an update on the situation that began Saturday, according to the Kenyan government.
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