NAIROBI, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security forces continue its operation on Tuesday inside the mall where 62 people were killed by gunmen since Saturday, after more gunmen were killed as the siege of the mall enters the fourth day.
"Security forces killed 6 of the remaining attackers," Kenya's Citizen TV said without giving detail of the source. The Kenya Defense Forces said on Monday that three terrorists were killed and a few were injured.
The government said earlier that there were 10 to 15 gunmen fighting inside the mall where 62 people were killed and 175 were injured, the deadliest attack since the bombing at U.S. Embassy in Nairobi killed more than 200 people.
Somali militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was part of retaliation for the cross-border incursion by Kenyan soldiers in October 2011.
Fresh gunshots where heard around 9:30 a.m. from the mall, according to people working nearby and a police officer involved in the operation, after gunfire erupted at around 6:20 a.m. in the complex near which Xinhua reported counted about 30 shots. The fresh fight between Kenyan security forces and gunmen broke the silence that persisted for hours over night which caused speculation that the siege of the mall might have ended.
"Our security forces were still combing the huge Westgate shopping center floor-by-floor to ensure that there were no grenades or any other explosive material that were left behind the terrorists," a senior police officer who was involved in the operation told Xinhua by telephone after the gunfight.
The officer who insisted on anonymity said there are still gunman inside the mall and there was exchange of fires between security forces and gunmen. More troops will be deployed for the operation he said.
The special security forces will continue to secure the Westgate mall building for some time to ensure that all bodies were pulled out, the officer told Xinhua earlier Tuesday before the latest gunfight.
"The building may still be inaccessible to the public and media for a while since there are some bodies yet to be pulled out of the building," the officer said. "We also want to be sure that there are no dangerous devices that were left behind by the six terrorists who were killed during the rescue operation," he added.
The interior ministry said earlier that "We believe all hostages have been released."
Police helicopters are still circling over the mall.
Kenya's cabinet secretary for foreign affairs and international trade Amina Mohamed said "two or three Americans and one Brit" were among the attackers who carried out the shooting spree on Saturday and continued the standoff with security forces into a fourth day.
Mohamed told America's Public Broadcasting Service's NewsHour program that the Americans were 18 to 19 years old of Somali or Arab origin and lived "in Minnesota and one other place" in the U. S.
The FBI is investigating reports that some Americans who joined the Somali insurgents were involved in the mall attack. U.S. President Barack Obama said he has spoken directly with Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, and will provide whatever law enforcement assistance Kenya needs and expressed confidence that Nairobi will rebuild.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to address the nation Tuesday.
The attack dealt a further blow to the east African nation where tourism is a pillar industry, which is already dented by increased insurgency after Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.
Kenyatta has urged wealthy governments not to issue warnings to their citizens against visiting Kenya as it would damage the country's tourism and economy.
People are gathering, anxiously waiting for good news coming out of mall which used to be a place for shopping, fun and friends and family reunion. One of them is Kephas from security guard company Securex who works at the construction site about 500 meters from the mall. He was deeply saddened as his colleague who was on duty at the mall was killed by the gunmen. He said Kenyan citizens and tourists much be shocked by the attack with a carry- over of fear. "We are afraid to shop in big malls," he said, adding the attack would hurt the country's economy.
A man named Paul who works for a Chinese restaurant for six years said the attack brought a "huge problem." People will become suspicious and too scared to go to shopping malls and supermarkets. "Because you will never know whether there are terrorists around you," he said.
Kenya has beefed up security along borders between Kenya and Ethiopia and between Kenya and Somalia to prevent insurgents from neighboring countries from passing to launch incursion, according to Cabinet Secretary in charge of Internal Security Joseph Ole Lenku.
He said the security apparatus in the regions has been ordered to scale up their security check and ensure that no one gets in or out of the country following the attack. All major hotels, restaurants, bars and public service vehicle (PSV) operators across the country have been directed to enhance their security by reviewing their security arrangements which include screening visitors.
The Kenyan government said on Monday that they have held "some individuals" for questioning at Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International airport. The individuals whose identities were not disclosed were arrested at the airport en route to Turkey, principal secretary in the Interior Ministry Mutue Iringo told Xinhua without disclosing whether the suspects were terrorists or have links to the terror attack at the mall.
Kenya says 62 dead, 2 terrorists killed, hostages rescued in mall crisis
NAIROBI, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan authorities on Monday put the latest toll in the mall crisis at 62, while declaring two terrorists were killed and some hostages were rescued in the latest round of fighting. Full story
Kenyan security forces kill six of remaining attacker: local TV
NAIROBI, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security forces killed six of the remaining attackers, the country's Citizen TV reported on Tuesday, as fresh gunfire erupted in the Nairobi mall.
"Security forces killed 6 of the remaining attackers," Citizen said without giving detail of the source. The Kenya Defense Forces said on Monday that three terrorists were killed and a few were injured. Full story