The militant group Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack by multiple gunmen at a shopping mall in Nairobi known as the Westgate centre.
The BBC reports that “The attackers entered the Westgate centre at about 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT), throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons. Dozens of shoppers fled; many were trapped inside. Officers have been going from shop to shop to secure the area. Some seven hours after the assault began, al-Shabab said on Twitter that its fighters were still battling Kenyan security forces inside the Westgate centre.”
Many people fled from the shopping mall as security forces tried to subdue the militants.
According to the BBC, “some witnesses said the gunmen had told Muslims to leave and said non-Muslims would be targeted.” A witness named Elijah Lamau stated that: “They came and said: ‘If you are Muslim, stand up. We’ve come to rescue you.'” Lamau told the BBC that “the Muslims left with their hands up, and then the gunmen shot two people.”
At least 68 people have been killed in the attack and another approximately 175 wounded, according to Kenyan officials. The death toll was expected to rise, however, as a number of people are still missing. There are also reports of hostages being held within the shopping mall by gunmen who are still active within the complex.