OTTAWA, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned Saturday's shooting attack at a popular shopping mall in Nairobi which has killed many, including two Canadians, one of them being a diplomat.
"Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this cowardly, hateful act that apparently targeted innocent civilians who were simply out shopping," Harper said in a statement.
He said that Canada extended the deepest condolences to those suffering the loss of Annemarie Desloges, a Canadian diplomat who died in the attack.
Desloges was a public servant of Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration who served in Canada's High Commission to Kenya as a liaison officer with the Canada Border Services Agency.
"The hearts and prayers of all Canadians go out to the families and friends of all those affected by this senseless tragedy," Harper said.
"Terrorist attacks like this seek to undermine the very values and way of life that Canadians cherish, and they reinforce the need for us to continue taking strong actions to protect the safety of Canadians no matter where they are in the world."
Harper stressed that acts of terror cannot be allowed to go unpunished and Canadian staff at the mission in Kenya are offering Kenyan authorities all possible assistance to bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice.
Meanwhile, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney also condemned this violent attack.
"Canada condemns this senseless act of violence in the strongest of terms, and we call on Kenyan authorities to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice," the ministers said in a joint statement.
The death toll from Saturday's attack has risen to 39, according to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Addressing the nation late Saturday, Kenyatta said at least 39 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in the attack, adding that "the despicable perpetrators of this cowardly act hoped to intimidate, divide and cause despondency amongst Kenyans."
Kenya has overcome terrorist attacks before and will defeat them again, he said, adding his government stands ready to defeat internal and external aggression.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) earlier put the death toll at 30. Its Secretary General Abbas Gullet told Xinhua that rescue operation is still underway, expressing fears that there might be more casualties since some of the shoppers are still holed up in the mall. Kenya's interior ministry is unsure whether there are hostages inside the mall.