Americans Among Kenya Mall Attackers, Foreign Minister Says

Americans were among those who attacked a Nairobi shopping mall, it was announced.

Two or three Americans were among those people who attacked a Kenyan shopping mall, Kenya’s authorities say. Photo: Hakon07/Flickr

More than 50 Kenyan citizens have been killed in the deadly assault on the upscale mall, which has lasted for three days.

The foreign minister, Amina Mohamed, told reporters in one of his interviews that the Americans that allegedly attacked the mall were 18 to 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin and lived “in Minnesota and one other place” in the U.S.

One more attacker from Britain was a woman who has “done this many times before,” Mohamed said.

U.S. authorities revealed that they are currently investigating whether any Americans were involved in the massacre. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Monday the department had “no definitive evidence of the nationalities or the identities” of the attackers.

White House spokesman Ben Rhodes said U.S. officials have seen “reports coming out of al-Shabab that indicate information along those lines,” referring to possible involvement of Americans in the attack.

Mohamed said Kenya needs to cooperate with other governments to struggle the increasing terrorist threat and “much more with the U.S and the U.K., because both the victims and the perpetrators came from Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States. From the information we have, two or three Americans and so far I’ve heard of one Brit.”

“But we have to run those to ground, of course,” she said. “We do monitor very carefully and have for some time been concerned about efforts by al-Shabab to recruit Americans or U.S. persons to come to Somalia.”

“This is an issue that has been tracked very closely by the U.S. government, and it’s one that we’ll be looking into in the days ahead.”

She added: “That just goes to underline the global nature of this war that we are fighting.”

The attack on the shopping mall in Kenya has come at a time when several Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya – tapping into local grievances but all espousing an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed – are striking at state authority and international interests.

“There are still gunmen in the building,” said an intelligence officer who wished to stay anonumous. Asked if there were still hostages, he said: “We are not sure yet.”

As Kenyan authorities admitted that the end of the siege was “very near”, al Shabaab said its militants were still holding out in the Westgate center and their hostages were still alive, Reuters writes.

“There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the Mujahideen (fighters) are still holding their ground #Westgate,” the group said on its Twitter feed.

“The hostages who were being held by the Mujahideen inside #Westgate are still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive.”

A trickle of survivors left on yesterday, but the fate of those still missing was unclear as well as information on how many militants had been killed or captured in the attack.

The government said three had died and a television report on Tuesday claimed that “six of the remaining attackers” were killed. There has been no clear official tally.

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