Aussie architect revealed as victim of Nairobi massacre

Aussie architect revealed as victim of Nairobi massacre

2409 10

Australian among those killed as military frees most hostages held by Al Shabaab

Kenya’s military says it has successfully freed most of the hostages in a shopping mall siege which claimed the lives of at least 68 people, including a Tasmanian man with Australian-UK citizenship.

At least 10 armed militants from the Al Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab had been keeping authorities at bay “in several locations” throughout the Westgate mall in the capital Nairobi, more than a day after they stormed the premises, killing scores of people.

The group was holding an unknown number of hostages, with Kenyan TV putting the figure at possibly 30.

“Most of the hostages have been released, and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has taken control of most parts of the building,” Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Cyrus Oguna told local television station KTN.

Kenyan troops continue to lay siege to the mall as they attempt to free the remaining hostages.

The ABC confirmed this morning that a Tasmanian man was among those killed by the gunmen.

He is understood to have been an architect who studied at the University of Tasmania.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it is not yet appropriate to name the man and his family has asked for their privacy to be respected.

2409 20

Acting Foreign Minister Andrew Robb says consular staff are contacting all Australians living in Nairobi, advising them to exercise extreme caution.

“The Australian Government has condemned this brutal terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms and expressed on behalf of the Australian people our deep regret for the senseless loss of life – not only to the Australian who’s lost his life, but also to many other countries,” he said.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated from the mall, with 200 of them taken to hospital.

Several Australians were caught up in the attack and managed to escape.

Australian lawyer Heidi Edwards told the ABC that she was in a yoghurt shop when the gunmen started shooting and throwing grenades.

“When we were in the yoghurt store we heard a big sound, it sounded like scaffolding falling at first so I wasn’t that concerned,” she said.

“And then there was some panic going on and then another one in quick succession and some gunshots.

“We were telling everyone to get down. I don’t know if you’ve been to Planet Yoghurt, it was completely glass and there’s only the desk to hide.

“So then I decided to try the staff door, there’s like a staff-only door. Luckily that was unlocked.

“So we got like a few, quite a few people through there, closed that and just ran.”

2409 2

Melbourne woman Sarah Williamson, 23, was in the shopping centre at the time of the incident.

She and her father sheltered in the back of a shop with eight other people before escaping, News Limited reported.

“Sarah is safe and well and we just hope the other hostages at the moment are to get as lucky as she is,” younger sister Amy Williamson said in a statement.

“The International Organisation of Migration will be taking all further comments.”

Another survivor, who gave his name as Jay, said he saw gunmen round up shoppers, ask them questions – possibly to find out if they were Muslims – and then shoot them dead.

Al Shabaab claims three attackers are from US

2409 16

Al Shabaab militants said the siege was retribution for Kenya’s operations against the group in Somalia.

The Kenyan government earlier said the group may include both male and female attackers and that one had died of his wounds after being arrested by security forces.

The ABC’s North America correspondent Lisa Millar said it emerged this morning that the group was claiming three of the alleged attackers are from the United States.

“You can imagine that is raising a whole lot of questions here amongst the intelligence community about this group and what went on in the lead-up to this attack,” she said.

US secretary of state John Kerry said the siege highlighted the gravity of the threat posed by Somali militants.

He said he had spoken with Somalia’s foreign minister and ambassador to Washington earlier in the day about the attack.

“It represents the seriousness and the breadth of the challenge we face with ruthless and completely reckless terrorists,” Mr Kerry told reporters as he started a meeting in New York with Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy.

“It’s an enormous offense against everybody’s sense of right and wrong.”

Mr Kerry said said several US citizens had been hurt and the wife of a US diplomat working for a US development agency was killed.

He said he had also spoken with Somalia’s foreign minister Fawzia Adan and its ambassador to Washington, Elmi Duale, about the crisis.

2409 15

US president Barack Obama called Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta to express his condolences for the “terrorist attack” and offered support to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr Kenyatta – who himself lost a nephew and the nephew’s fiancé in the attack – vowed to hold firm in what he called the “war on terror” in Somalia and said, cautiously, that Kenyan forces could end the siege.

“I assure Kenyans that we have as good a chance to successfully neutralise the terrorists as we can hope for,” he said.

“We will punish the masterminds swiftly and painfully.”

But a military spokesman for Al Shabaab said his group had nothing to fear.

“Where will Uhuru Kenyatta get the power with which he threatened us?” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said.

UN condemns ‘totally reprehensible’ attack

2409 4

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the attack was a “totally reprehensible” act and that he has spoken with Mr Kenyatta by telephone.

“This premeditated act, targeting defenceless civilians, is totally reprehensible,” he said.

“The perpetrators must be brought to justice as soon as possible.

“This is a time of shock for all Kenyans and all – including the UN family – who are proud to call Nairobi home.”

British prime minister David Cameron said three British citizens had been confirmed dead in the “barbaric” attacks, a number which would likely rise.

“It is an absolutely sickening and despicable attack of appalling brutality,” he said.

“Our thoughts also should be with the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people at this time.

“These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion – they don’t.

“They do it in the name of terror, violence, extremism and their warped view of the world.

“They don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.”

France said two of its citizens were killed, while Canada said two Canadians died, including a 29-year-old diplomat.

Ghanaian poet and former UN diplomat Kofi Awoonor, 78, was also killed, as was a Chinese woman, according to China’s official news agency.

Aussie architect revealed as victim of Nairobi massacre

2409 19

Australian architect Ross Langdon and his pregnant partner have been named on social media as being among the dead in the Nairobi shopping centre terror attack.

Mr Langdon’s partner, Elif Yavuz, was from the Nertherlands but lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She is pictured on her Facebook profile with her baby bump shaking the hand of former US president Bill Clinton.

2409 22

Mr Langdon is described as having a passion for unconventional sustainable designs and an interest in new models for enviromentally sustainable tourism infrastructure.

In 2010, he was jointly awarded the Alumni Award for Young Alumni Achievement at the University of Sydney for his achievements “in

the pursuit of excellence in architecture on projects in Australia, Europe and Africa”.

He graduated there with the University Medal in 2004 and founded Regional Associates just four years later and was working in Rwanda developing eco-lodges and other community projects when he won the award.

His firm is internationally recognised for its unconventional sustainable designs.

Matt Stephens, a friend of Ms Yavuz, wrote “I’m shattered,” on her Facebook page.

“Was chatting with her two weeks ago. She was so excited to be having a baby,” he posted.

He called her a woman of unique character and life.

2409 21

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will not confirm the identity of an Australian/British dual citizen killed in the massacre, but news that it was Mr Langdon broke on Twitter as people took to the site to express their shock and heartbreak.

Liane Rossler took to Twitter to describe the couple as “very special souls”.

“Such tragic news about beautiful Ross Langdon & his pregnant partner Elif Yavuz in Nairobi. Very special souls,” she said.

Mr Langon grew up in rural southeastern Tasmania, studying environment design and travelling widely before co-founding his own design studio with offices in London, Melbourne and Kyambura, in Uganda.

A spokesperson for DFAT said the Australian Government deeply regrets the senseless loss of life in the attack and extends its deepest sympathies to the family of the Australian victim.

“It is not appropriate to name the individual,” DFAT said.

“The family has asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

DFAT will extend all consular assistance to the family.

2409 18

A Tasmanian man and his pregnant partner have been named amongst the victims and terrorists are threatening to kill their hostages as their attack on a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital enters its third day.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The siege at a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi has entered its third day.

Heavily-armed gunmen attacked the building on Saturday, killing 68 people and injuring at least 175.

Tasmanian architect Ross Langdon and his Netherlands-born partner were among those killed.

An unknown number of hostages is still being held and the terrorists have threatened to kill them all if force is used to end the siege.

One of Africa’s most brutal insurgent groups, al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

2409 12

Now analysts are asking if this marks the start of a broader campaign of terror.

Martin Cuddihy reports from Nairobi.

HEIDI EDWARDS, LAWYER: We heard kind of a big sound. Sounded like scaffolding falling at first. And then there was some panic going on and then another one in quick succession and some gunshots.

MARTIN CUDDIHY, REPORTER: Midday on Saturday and a crowded shopping complex in Nairobi is under attack.

Australian lawyer Heidi Edwards is caught up in the chaos and flees into a stairwell.

HEIDI EDWARDS: Somebody else, not us, poked their head out and saw a gunmen. I don’t know if it was one of the assailants. It might’ve been a police officer as well and could see someone had been shot in ArtCaffe.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Gunmen armed with assault rifles rampaged through the centre tossing grenades.

Muslims, who make up just over 10 per cent of Kenya’s mainly Christian population, are told to leave.

MAN: They’re here to rescue the only the Muslims. If there are Muslims (inaudible).

WITNESS: The security guard, who was just lying next to where I was, was shot in the head, he died instantly. I saw that actually.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The Somali militant group al-Shabaab quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

2409 14

SARAH PHILLIPS, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, UNI. OF SYDNEY: Well the message that they’re trying to send is quite explicitly that this is an attack against Kenya because of its involvement, its military involvement in Somalia. The extent to which that’s true is debatable. It’s certainly part of it. But there’s also a lot of factional divisions going on within Shabaab and this could also be a way of one faction sending a message to the other that this is the direction that we’re going on.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Al-Shabaab emerged as a radical youth wing of neighbouring Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts in 2006 as it fought Ethiopian forces who entered Somalia to back the weak interim government. It’s thought to have several thousand fighters, including hundreds of foreigners. Last year, the group announced an alliance with al-Qaeda.

DAVID MALET, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, UNI. OF MELBOURNE: Al-Shabaab is the hardline Islamist group. You can think of them being a lot like the Taliban in Afghanistan. They want a sharia state, they don’t accept any sort of secular government or any outside involvement from the Western world. The name means the warrior youth, the movement of the warrior youth. That’s how they see themselves.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: International security expert David Malet says the group had goals beyond forcing Kenyan forces out of Somalia.

DAVID MALET: They also want to get international attention. Here we are talking about al-Shabaab in Australia, so this is actually very good for them, unfortunately, in terms of publicity. It helps their fundraising, it helps their recruitment globally, it makes them look legitimate that they can have an international profile attacking Western targets.

SARAH PHILLIPS: You see the footage and I spent a lot of time there and that’s really hard.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: International analyst Sarah Phillips specialises in the Horn of Africa and has more than an academic interest in the attack. She’s just returned from six months in Nairobi and lived close to the Westgate shopping complex.

SARAH PHILLIPS: I was shocked, but I wasn’t surprised. Westgate has been mentioned by al-Shabaab in the past as a potential target, and in a sense, it is a good, soft target.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: In a brutal civil war, al-Shabaab won control of almost all of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in 2006. It held large sections of central and southern Somalia until a UN-backed force from the African Union pushed the militants out of the city in 2011. Kenya became part of that action. 2409 9 SARAH PHILLIPS: What really was the motivation for Kenya’s incursion was the series of kidnappings from Kenyan territory. So you had foreign tourists being taken from the Island of Lamu and then brought back into Somalia and then you had kidnappings from the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. And so, Kenya, feeling that its borders were insecure, invaded Somalia.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Al-Shabaab has carried out a series of attacks within Somalia in recent years and also claimed responsibility for a double suicide bombing in Uganda’s capital, Kampala in 2010. 76 people who were watching the World Cup Final on television were killed.

DAVID MALET: They’ve been very active in the past several years in getting foreign fighters from North America, from Europe and they’ve had several from Australia as well. The plot to blow up the Holsworthy Army Barracks was organised by Australians who had gone to fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia and had come back to continue their fight here.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The assault on the weekend is the largest terrorist attack in Kenya since 1998 when an al-Qaeda cell bombed the US Embassy in Nairobi, killing 213 people.

Security has been stepped up considerably here in Nairobi and that’s because it’s now more than 48 hours later and this hostage situation is still unfolding. There are still captives inside the Westgate mall and even this morning we’ve been hearing gunshots from there.

Australian Heidi Edwards eventually escaped from the shopping complex through an emergency exit shaken, but unharmed.

HEIDI EDWARDS: Feeling very lucky. Feeling, you know, it could’ve just been one little thing, I could’ve been anywhere else in the mall. So feeling very lucky, very relieved.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The next big question is: where and when will al-Shabaab strike again?

DAVID MALET: They’re very interested in high-profile targets that’ll get a lot of international media attention and because they were so successful in this instance, it seems like they’ll probably be trying again soon.

*********************

Has British ‘White Widow’ been killed in final assault on Kenyan shopping  mall? Officials say body of white woman terrorist found at scene

  • Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of 7/7 bomber  Jermaine Lindsay, wanted by Kenyan police on a string of terror  charges
  • Westgate Shopping Centre on fire amid  fears that terrorists have carried out suicide bomb attack
  • Al Shabaab militants tweeted that they  have ‘executed two Britons point blank’ inside bank vault
  • Architect Ross Langdon, who had dual  Australian and British nationality, is confirmed among the dead
  • His Harvard-educated girlfriend  Elif Yavuz was also killed. She  was two weeks away from giving birth
  • British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond  said six British nationals have died in the attack, and number could  rise.
  • Kenyan government says two militants have  died in battle to retake the building
  • Claims that five of the attackers are  American and two are British
  • Kenyan military official says terrorists  are a ‘multinational collection from all over the world’
  • Kenyan official reveals he suspects the  involvement of fugitive 7/7 ‘white widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite
  • Men, women and children slaughtered if  they could not recite Koran or name Prophet Mohammed’s mother
  • Terrorists told French citizen ‘they want  to kill Kenyans and Americans’

, 23 September 2013

 

 

 

A dead white woman has been found among  Islamic terrorists killed by soldiers as they stormed the mall where 62 shoppers  were slaughtered this weekend, Kenyan officials said.

The claim, made by three sources to news  agency Reuters, will fuel speculation that the dead woman is Samantha  Lewthwaite, the widow of 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, who is wanted by Kenyan  police on a string of terror charges. Police will also investigate the  possibility that she is a hostage dressed in one of the terrorist’s  clothes.

Asked if it was Lewthwaite, dubbed the ‘White  Widow’, an intelligence officer said: ‘We don’t know.’

Moments after the news broke, Al Shabaab, the  Al Qaeda affiliated terror group behind the massacre at Nairobi’s Westgate  Shopping Centre, used their Twitter feed to claim that Lewthwaite was  safe.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS

Jamal's wife Samantha Lewthwaite
Samantha Lewthwaite, who has been linked with the Kenyon terror attack

A dead white woman has been found among Islamic  terrorists killed by soldiers as they stormed the mall where 62 shoppers were  slaughtered this weekend, Kenyan officials said. It will fuel speculation the  dead woman is Samantha Lewthwaite (left and right), widow of 7/7 bomber Jermaine  Lindsay,  wanted on terror charges

 

Eleven soldiers from the Kenyan Defence Force  (KDF) were also wounded in the fighting.

The official Kenyan police Twitter feed  reported that more than 200 civilians had been rescued as troops took control of  all the floors of the mall.

THE ‘WHITE WIDOW’ OF A COLD BLOODED KILLER

Samantha Lewthwaite converted to Islam as a  young woman and married a man who went on to be a 7/7 London suicide bomber. She  has become a key figure in the terror group behind this weekend’s  attack.

Lewthwaite has even been involved in training  a group of all-female suicide attackers at camps in lawless neighbouring the  29-year-old, who grew up as a normal teenager in Aylesbury before meeting  Jermaine Lindsay, a British Muslim, in an online chat room when she was 17. The  pair married three years later.

When her husband was named as one of four  suicide bombers who blew up Tube trains and a bus in 2005, killing 52 people,  Lewthwaite initially condemned her late husband’s attack and denied any  knowledge of his plan. This was a lie.

More than eight years later, Lewthwaite is  one of Al Qaeda’s main recruiters in East Africa and is an official spokesman  for Al Shabaab (The People), the terrorist group behind the horror in  Nairobi.

The so-called ‘White Widow’, who is the  world’s most wanted woman, has been on the run in East Africa after police  foiled a Christmas bomb plot against Western tourists in the coastal resort of  Mombasa in 2011.

‘Chances of any terrorists sneaking and  escaping are very slim. KDF troops have sealed all possible escape routes,’ it  said.

‘Fire started in the building by the  terrorists to distract the ongoing operation is being managed by fire fighters  from different agencies.’

The Kenyan authorities have said that 62  civilians have now been confirmed dead while 65 people were receiving treatment  in hospital. It claims almost all hostages have been freed and that it is in  ‘control of the situation’.

David Cameron is set to return to London  tonight to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee.  Earlier in the capital, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond chaired the  meeting.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron – who has  spoken to the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta – offered help in terms of  ‘policing, intelligence collaboration and other related kinds’ of  assistance.

The Foreign Office confirmed that six  British nationals were now known to be among the dead – who also  included  foreigners from France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Ghana,  the United States  and Canada.

None of the Britons have been identified  officially although one has been  named in reports as Ross Langdon, who had dual  nationality with  Australia.

A spokesman said they were aware of the  reports suggesting Samantha Lewthwaite was among those dead, and were ‘studying  them’.

The Kenyan authorities have now said all the  militants were male, although some are said to have been dressed as  women.

The start of the final assault was heralded  by a series of loud blasts and a barrage of gunfire as a pall of thick black  smoke began to rise over  the mall.

The chief of  the Kenyan defence forces,  General Julius Karangi, said the Islamist  militants who carried out the attack  – thought to number around 10 to 15 – included fighters from various  countries.

‘We have an idea who these people are and  they are clearly a multinational collection from all over the world,’ he  said.

Responsibility for the attack has been  claimed by al-Shabab – an Islamist group based  in neighbouring Somalia with  links to al Qaida.

Kenyan troops have been taking part in an  African Union force involved in  helping the Somali government to wrestle back  control of the country from  al-Shabab.

Tonight, the group has tweeted that they have  ‘executed two Britons point blank’ inside a bank vault . Their Twitter feed –  which claims to have documented the entire assault –  warns the next attack  will be carried ‘out soon’, and the group will ‘tweet from start to  finish’.

Police will also investigate the possibility that she is a hostage dressed in one of the terrorist's clothes. Asked if it was Lewthwaite, dubbed the 'White Widow', an intelligence officer said: 'We don't know'Police will also investigate the possibility that she is  a hostage dressed in one of the terrorist’s clothes. Asked if it was Lewthwaite,  dubbed the ‘White Widow’, an intelligence officer said: ‘We don’t  know’ 

 

Lewthwaite, 29, was married to Jermaine Lindsay, the suicide bomber who blew up a Tube train at King?s Cross in 2005Lewthwaite, 29, was married to Jermaine Lindsay, the  suicide bomber who blew up a Tube train at King?s Cross in 2005 

Paramedics run beside parked ambulances outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi after heavy shooting started for the third time since this morningParamedics run beside parked ambulances outside the  Westgate Mall in Nairobi after heavy shooting started for the third time since  this morning 

A police helicopter hovers next to a plume of rising black smoke from the shopping mall as an assault team was continuing with a rescue operation at the Westgate shopping mall, where the hostage situation continuesA police helicopter hovers next to a plume of rising  black smoke from the shopping mall as an assault team was continuing with a  rescue operation at the Westgate shopping mall, where the hostage situation  continues 

 

People take cover after hearing gun shots near the centre. The start of the final assault was heralded by a series of loud blasts and a barrage of gunfire as a pall of thick black smoke began to rise over the mallPeople take cover after hearing gun shots near the  centre. The start of the final assault was heralded by a series of loud blasts  and a barrage of gunfire as a pall of thick black smoke began to rise over the  mall 

 

 

 

 

The Westgate Shopping Centre is on fire and a fierce gun battle is underway as Kenyan special forces try to end the three day siege that has killed at least 69 people The Westgate Shopping Centre is on fire and a fierce gun  battle is underway as Kenyan special forces try to end the three day siege that  has killed at least 62 people 

 

 

Witnesses have reported hearing rapid gun fire at the shopping mall and Kenyan soldiers have been seen moving towards Westgate

Witnesses have reported hearing rapid gun fire at the  shopping mall and Kenyan soldiers have been seen moving towards Westgate

A paramedic runs for cover outside the mall in Nairobi after a large explosion was followed by sustained shooting

A paramedic runs for cover outside the mall in Nairobi  after a large explosion was followed by sustained shooting

Security forces say they have evacuated almost all the hostages from the shopping centre, which was on fire earlier on Monday Security forces say they have evacuated almost all the  hostages from the shopping centre, which was on fire earlier on Monday 

 

 

 

Explosions and then black smoke rises from  besieged mall

A Kenyan minister claimed the heavy black smoke billowing from the shopping mall on Monday was caused by burned mattresses
A Kenyan minister claimed the heavy black smoke billowing from the shopping mall on Monday was caused by burned mattresses

A Kenyan minister claimed the heavy black smoke  billowing from the shopping mall on Monday was caused by burned mattresses

 

The area around the mall was teeming with Kenyan soldiers and armoured personnel carriersThe area around the mall was teeming with Kenyan  soldiers and armoured personnel carriers, as emergency workers and reporters  were told to take cover 

 

police chief David Kimaiyo said in a message on Twitter on the third day of the standoff.Kenyan police said they have rescued some hostages after  storming the mall and said they are ‘increasingly gaining advantage [over] the  attackers’ 

 

 

Ross Langdon, 33, was killed alongside his heavily pregnant Dutch partner Elif YavuzRoss Langdon, 33, was killed alongside his heavily  pregnant Dutch partner Elif Yavuz 

 

Earlier, a  Twitter account purporting to  belong to an al-Shabab spokesman named a  24-year-old man from London as one of  the gunmen.

The @hsm-press2 account listed a string of  names it claimed were involved  in the attack before being closed down, as  previous usernames linked to  the terrorist group had been. Kenyan  special forces claim they are on the way to resolving the crises.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said: ‘We  think the operation will come to an end soon’, he said. ‘We are in control of  all the floors, the  terrorists are running and hiding in some stores… there  is no room for escape’.

At least 175 were injured, including  children.

There are fears the death toll will rise as  security forces search the upmarket shopping complex.

Briton Ross Langdon, 33,  confirmed as  one of the dead, was an award-winning  architect, who had dual nationality with  Australia. He died alongside  his heavily pregnant Dutch partner Elif  Yavuz.

She was a Harvard-educated malaria specialist  who worked for the Clinton  Health Access Initiative and was just two weeks away  from giving birth  to her first child.

The  identities of the rest of the dead  Britons have not been released. A  British man has told The Daily Telegraph that  he had lost his wife and  daughter and had identified their bodies from  photographs shown to him  by police.

Peruvian  national Dr Juan Jesus Ortiz-Iruri,  63, who was due to start work at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine next  month, was confirmed among  the dead today.

Earlier , as Kenyan soldiers and more  armoured personnel carriers descended on  the mall, a spokesman for terror group  Al Shabaab Ali Mohamud Rage said  in a statement posted on an Islamist website  that those held inside will ‘bear the brunt of any force’ used by soldiers  against the militants.

The statement read: ‘We authorise the  mujahedeen inside the building to  take actions against the prisoners as much as  they are pressed.

‘We are telling Christians advancing onto the  mujahedeen to have mercy for  their prisoners who will bear the brunt of any  force directed against  the mujahedeen.’

There were  conflicting reports about the  identity of the attackers. Al Shabaab  claimed on Twitter last night that the  group was being led by Samantha  Lewthwaite, who was married to Jermaine  Lindsay, one of the 7/7 suicide  bombers.

Known as the White Widow, she is wanted by  Kenyan police over links to a suspected terrorist cell planning bomb  attacks.

A link between Lewthwaite and the Westgate  attack was made after soldiers claimed they had seen a white woman in a veil  shouting orders to gunman in Arabic.

Meanwhile, a  Twitter account claiming to  represent Al Shabaab yesterday claimed that  terrorists from seven nations are  involved in the attack, including the  U.S., Britain and Canada.

The HSM Press Office account, which has been  suspended twice, claimed the  group were Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, from London,  UK; Gen Mustafe  Noorduiin, 27, from Kansas City, U.S., Abdifatah Osman  Keenadiid, 24,  from Minneapolis, U.S., and Ahmed Mohamad Isse, 22, from Saint  Paul,  U.S; Ismael Guled, 23, from Finland; Abdirizak Mouled, 24, from Ontario, Canada; and Zaki Jama Caraale, 20, and Sayid Nuh, 25, both from  Somalia.

Meanwhile, a  Twitter account claiming to  represent Al Shabaab yesterday claimed that  terrorists from seven  nations are involved in the attack, including the U.S.,  Britain and  Canada.

The HSM Press  Office account, which  has  been suspended twice, claimed the group were Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon,  24, from  London, UK; Gen Mustafe Noorduiin, 27, from Kansas City, U.S.,  Abdifatah Osman  Keenadiid, 24, from Minneapolis, U.S., and Ahmed Mohamad Isse, 22, from Saint  Paul, U.S; Ismael Guled, 23, from Finland;  Abdirizak Mouled, 24, from Ontario,  Canada; and Zaki Jama Caraale, 20,  and Sayid Nuh, 25, both from Somalia.

A top Kenyan military official said he believes the  attackers are ‘a multinational collection from all over the world.’

Police officers take cover following a string of explosions and fierce gun fire on Monday - the third day of the siege Police officers take cover following a string of  explosions and fierce gun fire on Monday – the third day of the siege 

 

Militants inside Westgate Shopping Centre have threatened to kill the remaining hostages as Kenyan security personnel try to end the siege (pictured) Militants inside Westgate Shopping Centre have  threatened to kill the remaining hostages as Kenyan security personnel try to  end the siege (pictured) 

 

 

Kenya Security personnel take cover outside the Westgate Mall. 

Kenya Security personnel take cover outside the Westgate  Mall. Islamist terror group Al Shabaab claimed it carried out the atrocity in  which four Britons were killed and 175 people were left injured

Kenyan military said last night that 'most' of the hostages have been freed but a spokesman admitted today that the situation is still not clearKenyan military said last night that ‘most’ of the  hostages have been freed but a spokesman admitted today that the situation is  still not clear 

 

Militants inside the shopping centre said hostages would 'bear the brunt' of any action by the Kenyan military Militants inside the shopping centre said hostages would  ‘bear the brunt’ of any action by the Kenyan military 

 

 

 

 

Terror link: Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, originally from Buckinghamshire, was described as a 'brave lady' by Islamist terror group Al ShabaabTerror link: Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, originally from  Buckinghamshire, was described as a ‘brave lady’ by Islamist terror group Al  Shabaab 

 

General Julius Karangi said fighters from an  array of nations participated in the attack claimed by Al Shabaab, a Somali  group allies with al-Qaida.

We have an idea who they are, their nationality and even the number.  We are  fighting  global terrorism here and we have sufficient intel (intelligence) to  suggest that.’

As the  stand-off entered its third day,  sustained bursts of rapid gunfire  erupted at dawn and lasted 15 minutes, and  soldiers posted around the  complex ducked for cover.

This was followed by three big explosions,  AFP correspondents at the scene said.

A Kenyan special forces officer said troops  had moved in to end the siege with force.

‘I saw them only once, I could not see them  much,” he said. ‘It was  hide-and-seek, hide-and-seek, hide-and-seek. In the end  we had to use  full force, we had to finish with these guys.’

Al Shabaab have not said how many people were  being held by the dozen-or-so attackers, who marched into the  Israeli-owned four-storey complex at midday Saturday, spraying shoppers with machine  gunfire and tossing grenades.

One security officer said within half-an-hour  of the attack the mall had  been turned into ‘an abattoir’ as gunmen wearing  Islamic scarves but  Western clothes went on the rampage.

Police chief  David Kimaiyo said today that  some hostages have been freed. However, a group  claiming to represent the Al  Shabaab terrorists said they are still  fighting inside the  building.

In a message on Twitter Mr Kimaiyo wrote:  ‘Thumbs up  to our multi-agency team, we  have just managed to rescue some hostages. We’re increasingly gaining advantage  of the attackers.

‘WE ONLY WANT TO KILL KENYANS AND AMERICANS’: EXTRAORDINARY  ESCAPE OF FRENCH FAMILY

A French woman said she was freed by the  Islamic terrorists because they told her they only wanted to kill Kenyans and  Americans.

The woman, who only gave her name as Pauline,  said she escaped with her two young children, who were given Mars bars by the  gunmen.

Pauline said she was asked for forgiveness by  the terrorists who told her ‘we are not monsters’.

The mother of two, who was in the supermarket  when the attack began, said once she agreed Muslims were not ‘bad people’ they  gave her children, Emily, 6, and Eliot, 4, chocolate.

She told The Independent: ‘He said we only  only want to kill Kenyans and Americans. He then told me I had to change my  religion to Islam and said “do you forgive us? do you forgive us?’

She said she was able to escape with another  two children, including a wounded 12-year-old boy whose mother had been  murdered.

Terrified children wait by the body of a man after escaping from the shopping centre. Militants have today threatened to kill the remaining hostages

Terrified children wait by the body of a man after  escaping from the shopping centre. Militants have today threatened to kill the  remaining hostages

Fleeing: A child runs to safety across the shopping mall following the deadly attack in Nairobi, Kenya

Fleeing: A child runs to safety across the shopping mall  following the deadly attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Four Britons have been killed in  the attack

Terror: Armed police guide a woman carrying a child to safety at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi

Terror: Armed police guide a woman carrying a child to  safety at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi

Desperation: A crowd of people hold their arms out to catch a Kenyan woman as she jumps out from the air vent where she had been hiding from the gunmen
Westgate Shopping Centre

Desperation: A crowd of people hold their arms out to  catch a Kenyan woman as she jumps out from the air vent where she had been  hiding from the gunmen

 

Moving quickly: An image grab taken from AFP TV shows civilians taking cover following an attack by masked gunmen in a shopping mall in NairobiMoving quickly: An image grab taken from AFP TV shows  civilians taking cover following an attack by masked gunmen in a shopping mall  in Nairobi 

 

62 DEAD AND 175  INJURED FROM 14 NATIONS: DETAILS OF  KENYA TERRORIST ATTACK VICTIMS BEGIN TO EMERGE

Canadian diplomat Annemarie Desloges was among the 68 people known to have died in the attack. Her husband Robert Munk was injured Canadian diplomat Annemarie Desloges was among the 68  people known to have died in the attack. Her husband Robert Munk was injured 

KENYA President  Uhuru Kenyatta’s nephew Mbugua Mwangi and his nephew’s fiancee Rosemary Wahito  were killed.

Radio and TV personality Ruhila Adatia-Sood,  was also killed after hosting a cookery competition at the  mall.

Reports said she was recently married and six  months pregnant.

GHANA Kofi  Awoonor, a Ghanaian poet, professor and former ambassador to Brazil, Cuba and  the United Nations, died after being wounded in the attack, Ghana’s presidential  office confirmed.

Ghana’s ministry of information said  Awoonor’s son was injured and is responding to treatment.

CANADA Two  Canadians, including a diplomat, died in the attack, according to Prime Minister  Stephen Harper.

He paid tribute to the victims and noted the  loss of diplomat Annemarie Desloges, who served in Canada’s High Commission to  Kenya as a liaison officer with the Canada Border Services Agency.

Her spouse Robert Munk was wounded in the  attack, but has since been released from the hospital, the Canadian Press  reported.

INDIA Two  Indians, 8-year-old Parmashu Jain and 40-year-old Sridhar Natarajan, were  killed, and four others were wounded in the attack.

BRITAIN The  Foreign Office have confirmed that four UK nationals have been killed in the  attack.

Prize-winning architect Ross Langdon, who had  dual British and Australian citizenship, is believed to be one of the dead.

A British man, who refused to give his name,  said his wife and daughter were both killed in the atrocity.

The Foreign Office warned the number of  British dead is ‘likely to rise as further information becomes  available.’

FRANCE Two  French women were killed, President Francois Hollande said.

SOUTH AFRICA One  South African citizen was killed, according to the country’s International  Relations Department.

THE NETHERLANDS A 33-year-old Dutch woman died in the attack, believed  to be Elif Yavuz, the heavily pregnant  partner of British architect Mr Langdon.

Seven other Dutch citizens who were in the  mall escaped unharmed, Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said.

CHINA A  38-year-old Chinese woman with the surname Zhou who worked in the real estate  industry was killed in the attack, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.  Her son was injured in the attack and was in stable condition in a hospital,  according to the Chinese Embassy in Kenya.

PERU A  retired staff member of UNICEF from Peru was killed, the agency’s regional  office for Eastern and Southern Africa said.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine  confirmed today that Dr Juan Jesus Ortiz-Iruri, 63, who had worked in Britain,  was among the dead.

Colleague Professor Nynke van den Broek said:  ‘He had dedicated his professional life to improving health systems in Africa  and Asia, particularly in the area of maternal, child and new-born health. Juan  had worked with us on a range of maternal and new-born health programmes for  some time from his base in Nairobi and we were all looking forward to welcoming  him as a full time member of staff in Liverpool later this week. His loss will  be felt by us all both professionally and personally.’

U.S. Five  American citizens were injured, U.S. officials said.

NEW ZEALAND Andrew  McLaren, 34, a New Zealander who managed a factory in Kenya for the avocado oil  company Olivado, was wounded in the attack, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign  Affairs confirmed. He was hospitalised in stable condition.

SWITZERLAND The  Swiss government confirmed that one of its citizens was injured in the attack.  It said its embassy in Nairobi is in contact with the victim’s family and local  officials, but would not provide further detail on the victim’s  name.

 

 

Tense: Kenyan paramilitary officers walk towards a small shopping arcade adjacent to the Westgate shopping mall where the hostage situation continuesTense: Kenyan paramilitary officers walk towards a small  shopping arcade adjacent to the Westgate shopping mall where the fate of the  hostages remained unclear on Monday morning 

 

Tense: Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces walk out of the mall, following the sound of explosions and gunfireTense: Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces walk out  of the mall, following the sound of explosions and gunfire 

Injured people cry for help after gunmen went on a shooting spree in the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi
A woman holds a baby sitting with other injured people who are crying for help after gunmen went on a shooting spree in the Westgate shopping centre

Distressing: A woman holds a baby sitting with other  injured people who are crying for help after gunmen went on a shooting spree in  the Westgate shopping centre

Shock: A soldier directs people up stairs inside the Westgate shopping mall after a shootout in Nairobi, Kenya. Gunmen had fired automatic weapons and grenades 

Shock: A soldier directs people up stairs inside the  Westgate shopping mall. Some fled and sought refuge in shops, bank vaults and  store rooms as grenades exploded and bullets fired around  them

WHO ARE AL SHABAAB? 

Al Shabaab –  which means ‘The Youth’ in  Arabic – was formed in Somalia in 2006 as an offshoot of the Union of Islamic  Courts.

Experts say it has up to 9,000 fighters,  including foreigners.

In 2010, the group carried out a double  bombing in Uganda, targeting people watching the football World Cup final.

A total of 77 people were killed.

The group formally ran large parts of  Somalia’s south but has been pushed back by the African Union force in the past  couple of years, in which Kenyan troops played a large part.

Al Shabaab, which is banned in the UK and the  U.S., was forced out of Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu  in 2011.

 

‘I saw them only once, I could not see them  much,’ he said. ‘It was  hide-and-seek, hide-and-seek, hide-and-seek. In the end  we had to use  full force, we had to finish with these guys.’

The HSM Press Office account, which  has been  suspended twice and claims to have contact with the terrorists  inside, wrote  today: ‘They’ve obtained large amounts of  ammunition and are, by the blessings of Allah alone, still firm and still  dominating the show #Westgate.’

The attacks have a chilling similarity to  those in Mumbai in 2008 where  terrorist besieged hotels, community centres and  streets in 12  co-ordinated attacks, leaving more than 170 dead.

Following chairing a meeting of the Cobra  emergency committee in Whitehall,  Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the UK  had offered assistance to  Kenya.

He said: ‘Cobra  met this morning and had an  updated assessment of the situation. I can  confirm that there is a fourth  British national confirmed dead and the  next of kin have been informed.

‘We’re in close touch with the Kenyan  authorities and we stand ready to  provide them with any additional assistance  they require.’

A British businessman said four members of  his family were killed in the atrocity.

Samir Bharma, from Spinney Hills, Leicester,  was last night making arrangements to fly to the Kenyan capital and said his  relatives were killed while taking part in a recording of a television programme  called Masterchef Junior.

He said: ‘They were young people who were  taking part in a cookery contest that was taking place in the centre.  Unfortunately they have all passed away.

‘An aunt – my dad’s cousin – she’s critical  in hospital. I’ve spoken to my father who is there, but contact is  difficult.’

Another Leicester man said his parents and  brother and sister were in the shopping mall when the terrorists  struck.

The man, in his 20s, wishes to remain  anonymous after his mother warned him that terrorists had hacked into Facebook  accounts of Nairobi residents and left the chilling warning ‘we are watching  you’.

He said: ‘[My mother] was just passing by in  the upper mall. The whole thing was taking place on the ground floor and she  just saw gunmen wandering around everywhere and shooting people. She saw her  best friend being shot straight in the head.

‘My sister just froze to the spot. My brother  dragged my sister out into the parking lot. At that point the parking lot was  secure and people could leave.’

Soldiers from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) arrive at the Westgate Shopping Centre in the capital Nairobi

Hunting down the terrorists: Soldiers from the Kenya  Defence Forces arrive at the Westgate Shopping Centre in the capital Nairobi

Help: Relatives and friends of victims line up to donate blood in Nairobi, following the overwhelming numbers of casualties from the Westgate mall shootingHelp: Relatives and friends of victims line up to donate  blood in Nairobi, following the overwhelming numbers of casualties from the  Westgate mall shooting 

Witness describes close encounter with Nairobi  mall gunmen

 

Siege: People look at the Westgate shopping mall in the distance where hostages are being held for the second day Siege: People look at the Westgate shopping mall in the  distance where hostages were held for three days 

Survivors of the siege told  today how terrorists, their faces hidden with Islamic scarves, stormed  the  shopping mall and started tossing grenades and spraying shoppers  with AK-47s.

The gunmen  ordered all Muslims to leave  before carrying out rudimentary tests to  see if hostages could recite the Koran  and name the mother of the  Prophet Mohammed.

As soldiers began working their way through  the shopping centre yesterday  they discovered that piles of bodies had been  pushed against doors to  slow their progress.

Reports on where the terrorists are holed up  differ, with some reports  suggesting they have barricaded themselves and dozens  of hostages in a  toilet block on the ground floor.

A French woman, known only as Pauline, said  the terrorists told her they only wanted to kill Kenyans and Americans.

Al Shabaab has demanded that President Uhuru  Kenyatta must pull out Kenyan troops from Somalia.

Troops have pushed  the militants on to the  defensive over the past two years as part of an  African Union-backed  peacekeeping mission. Kenyatta refused.

The president, who lost a nephew in Saturday’s killing, vowed to hold firm in the ‘war  on terror’ in  Somalia and said, cautiously, that Kenyan forces could end the  siege.

‘I assure Kenyans that we have as good a  chance to successfully neutralise the terrorists as we can hope for,’ he said.  ‘We will punish the  masterminds swiftly and painfully.’

 

 

 

 

 

Horror: Shoppers hurry down an escalator with their hands in the air as they make their way out of the shopping centre to safetyHorror: Shoppers hurry down an escalator with their  hands in the air as they make their way out of the shopping centre to  safety 

Killings: At least 59 people are believed to be dead, although police have not confirmed a death tollKillings: The fate of the hostages remained unclear this  morning despite earlier statements from police saying most of those held had  been rescued 

Desperation: An injured woman, whose face and clothes are drenched in blood, lies on the ground outside the shopping mall screaming for helpDesperation: An injured woman, whose face and clothes  are drenched in blood, lies on the ground outside the shopping mall screaming  for help 

 

 

 

 

Escape: Women carrying children run for safety after al Shabaab terrorists stormed Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya armed with guns and grenades Escape: Women carrying children run for safety after al  Shabaab terrorists stormed Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya armed with  guns and grenades 

 

Spree: Shots are still being heard in the mall as police and terrorists engage in a stand-offSpree: Shots are still being heard in the mall as police  and terrorists engage in a stand-off 

Hands up: Hostages of all nationalities head for the exit with their arms raised to show they are not carrying any weapons

Hands up: Hostages of all nationalities head for the  exit with their arms raised to show they are not carrying any weapons

 

Hague condemns ‘callous and cowardly’ terrorist  attack in Kenya

 

 

Hundreds of Kenyans donate blood for Nairobi  victims

ScrambleScramble: People crawl on their stomachs to safety as security forces keep a lookout at the Nairobi mall on Saturday : People rush for safety away from gunfire between police and armed attackers

Scramble: People crawl on their stomachs to safety as  security forces keep a lookout at the Nairobi mall on Saturday

Judges at the International Criminal Court  adjourned the trial of  Kenyan Vice President William Ruto today for a week to  allow him to  return home to deal with the hostage crisis.

Ruto and Kenyan  president, Uhuru Kenyatta,  face charges of crimes against humanity in  relation to their role in  coordinating a wave of violence that swept  Kenya in the aftermath of the  country’s contested 2007 elections.

The court’s unusually swift decision was  taken during an emergency session  after prosecutors said they had no objection  to a short delay in  proceedings, and a representative for the witnesses broke  down in tears  in the courtroom, saying Ruto should be allowed to attend to the  urgent  matter.

Wounded: A Kenyan policeman sits clutching his stomach alongside his rifle while a colleague exchanges fire with the terroristsWounded: A Kenyan policeman sits clutching his stomach  alongside his rifle while a colleague exchanges fire with the  terrorists 

 

 

 

Scared: Clearly distressed, this family join hands as they make their way out of the building. Bullet wounds can be seen in the glass behind themScared: Clearly distressed, this family join hands as  they make their way out of the building. Bullet wounds can be seen in the glass  behind them 

 

Cat and mouse: A security officer points out the location of where some of the terrorists may be hiding to his colleagues, all three of whom have their pistols at the readyCat and mouse: A security officer points out the  location of where some of the terrorists may be hiding to his colleagues, all  three of whom have their pistols at the ready 

 

Protection: A mother and her children lie on the floor as they attempt to hide while the gunmen armed with automatic weapons go on the rampageProtection: A mother and her children lie on the floor  as they attempt to hide while the gunmen armed with automatic weapons go on the  rampage 

 

Terrified: A young in tears is led away form the terror by a police officer Terrified: A young girl in tears is led away form the  terror by a police officer 

Witnesses recount Nairobi massacre

Children: A soldier carries one of the survivors to safety as armed police hunt for the gunmenChildren: A soldier carries one of the survivors to  safety as armed police hunt for the gunmen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue: A policeman carries a baby to safety on the barrel of his gun while a woman ducks for safety behind himRescue: A policeman carries a baby to safety on the  barrel of his gun while a woman ducks for safety behind him 

 

 

 

 

Rescue: A woman is shipped to an ambulance in a shopping trolley by centre staffRescue: A woman is shipped to an ambulance in a shopping  trolley by centre staff 

 

 

 

Family mall: Customers who had planned a Saturday of shopping were forced to run following a shootout between unidentified armed men and the policeFamily mall: Customers who had planned a Saturday of  shopping were forced to run following a shootout between unidentified armed men  and the police 

 

 

 

Relatives of Kenyan president among dead in  shopping mall attack

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