Few Hostages Remain In Nairobi Mall


NAIROBI, Kenya (September 23, 2013)--Officials were "very certain" Monday that there are few, if any, hostages left in an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi that was attacked by terrorists with links to al-Qaeda over the weekend, Kenya's interior minister said.

He said the evacuation of hostages went "very, very well," and the country's chief of defense forces says Kenyan troops are in charge of all floors inside the mall, although he says terrorists could still be hiding inside.

Four explosions at the mall Monday were followed by volleys of gunfire, and then a thick, dark column of smoke for about 90 minutes.

Top Kenyan officials said two hostage-takers were killed.

They were described as being part of a "multi-national collection from all over the world."

The Kenyan interior minister has revised the death toll from the attack to 62.

Kenyan officials earlier said 59 people have died since the siege began on Saturday.

Sunday, Kenyan officials announced that "most" hostages had been rescued, but no numbers were given.

They've never said how many hostages they believed were being held.

Officials say 10 to 15 terrorists have been holed up in the mall since Saturday, when they attacked with grenades and assault rifles, leaving 59 people dead and 175 wounded.

Somalia's radical rebel group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack as retribution for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and said there will be no negotiations.

Four U.S. citizens were among those wounded in the attack and the wife of a foreign service national working for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed, officials said.

A State Department official says consular officers have been in contact with the four injured Americans and have been providing appropriate assistance.

No other details about them have been released due to privacy concerns.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack "a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant."

In a statement from the White House, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council says the U.S. will help bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.


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