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Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall, hunt for terrorists

Last updated on: September 24, 2013 14:53 IST

Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall

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The terror siege on a shopping mall in an upscale neighbourhood in Nairobi, Kenya entered its fourth day today.

Three Indians were among the 62 people killed when 10 to 15 terrorists attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall on Saturday.

The third Indian has been identified as Sudharshan B Nagaraj from Bangalore, the spokesperson in the ministry of external affairs said on Tuesday.

Earlier, two Indians, including an 8-year-old boy, were declared dead in the attack.

They were identified as 40-year-old Sridhar Natarajan, employee of a pharmaceutical firm, and Paramshu Jain, son of a manager of the local Bank of Baroda branch.

However, some media reports claimed that as many as nine Indians may have been killed in the attack.

This is the deadliest assault since Al Qaeda bombed the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998, leaving over 200 people dead.

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Image: Smoke rises from the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi following a string of explosions during the third day of a stand-off between Kenyan security forces and gunmen inside the building
Photographs: Johnson Mugo/Reuters

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Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall

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 Four Indians, including two women and a girl, were among nearly 200 people injured in the attack on the part Israeli-owned Westgate centre.

The injured Indians are Natarajan's wife Manjula Sridhar, Paramshu Jain's mother Mukta Jain, 12-year-old Poorvi Jain and Natarajan Ramachandran, an employee of Flamingo Duty Free.

Meanwhile, Kenyan special troops are battling one or two militants still holed up inside the mall, even as the interior ministry said forces are in "full control" of the situation.

A government spokesman said the Westgate siege was near an end, as the crisis entered its fourth day today.

Kenyan army chief Julius Karangi said the terrorists involved in the attack were from different countries.

Echoing Karangi's view, Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said two or three American men, who appeared to be of Somali or Arab origin, and a British woman, were among the terrorists

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Image: Kenya defence forces soldiers take cover behind a wall
Photographs: Noor Khamis/Reuters
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Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall

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Kenya's interior ministry has claimed that security forces have taken control of all the floors in the mall and they were conducting a final sweep to find hostages.

It is not clear whether any of the hostages were still inside the mall.

The security forces had surrounded the mall on Monday evening and launched a full scale assault.

As many as 65 people have been missing after the attack, said Red Cross. The government has not yet shared the official death toll.

Though Kenyan officials claimed that security forces were in control of the mall, some officials believed that a few terrorists, including snipers, were still inside the building.

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Image: eople take cover behind a car along a road during heavy gunfire
Photographs: Noor Khamis/Reuters

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Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall

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The terrorists belong to Al-Shabaab, a Somali Islamic terror group affiliated with the Al Qaeda.

Al-Shabaab had taken responsibility for the attack and even mentioned the names of nine of the terrorists on its Twitter handle.

The Twitter account has since been suspended.

Al-Shabaab has claimed that some of the terrorists belonged to the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

The attack is a major setback for both the Kenyan government and the United States administration, which had claimed that the crackdown on Islamic terrorists in Kenya, backed by US forces, had been a success.

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Image: Kenyan soldiers walk towards the Westgate shopping centre
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

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Kenyan forces storm under-siege mall

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On Monday, the only terrorist captured alive so far was brought to a local hospital in Nairobi.

But he had managed to smuggle a gun in and started firing inside the hospital, before being overpowered by security forces.

Three terrorists have been killed and at least 11 Kenyan soldiers seriously wounded in the ongoing gunfight between security forces and the terrorists.

Security forces have evacuated at least 200 people so far, though the number of hostages still trapped inside is unknown.

Thick smoke was seen billowing from the mall building on Tuesday, after terrorists set fire to parts of it, and sounds of intermittent gunfire could be heard.

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Image: Police officers take cover following a string of explosions from Westgate shopping centre

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