NAIROBI: The Kenyan military remained in a tense standoff with Islamic extremists Sunday, as the toll rose to 59 dead, including children, and 175 wounded in the attack at an upscale mall, a Kenyan minister said.

Multiple barrages of gunfire erupted Sunday morning from inside the building where hostages are being held by militants. The radicals attacked the mall Saturday and remained inside throughout the night.

"The priority is to save as many lives as possible," Joseph Lenku said, reassuring the families of the hostages in the upscale Westgate mall. Kenyan forces have already rescued about 1,000 people, he said.

Ten to 15 attackers remain in the mall and Kenyan forces control the security cameras inside the shopping center, Lenku said. Combined military and police forces surrounded the mall in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi, which is frequented by foreigners and wealthy Kenyans.

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga told reporters at the mall that he has been told officials couldn't determine the exact number of hostages inside the mall.

"There are quite a number of people still being held hostage on the third floor and the basement area where the terrorists are still in charge," Odinga said.

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked rebel group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the attack in which they used grenades and assault rifles and specifically targeted non-Muslims.

Kenyans and foreigners were among those confirmed dead, including French, Canadians and Chinese.

A 38-year-old Chinese woman was killed in the shopping mall "terror attack," the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said in a statement Sunday. Her son was injured in the attack and in a stable condition in hospital, according to the statement posted on the embassy's website.

Nineteen people, including at least four children, died after being admitted to Nairobi's MP Shah hospital, said Manoj Shah, the hospital's chairman. "We have at least two critical patients currently, one with bullets lodged near the spine," he said.

The hospital continued to receive patients Sunday, he said.

Ghanain poet Kofi Awoonor died after being injured in the attack, Ghana's presidential office confirmed.

Kenya's presidential office said that one of the attackers was arrested on Saturday and died after suffering from bullet wounds.

Trucks brought in a fresh contingent of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces early Sunday.

"Violent extremists continue to occupy Westgate Mall. Security services are there in full force," said the United States embassy in an emergency text message issued Sunday morning.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said late Saturday that his government had sent a rapid deployment team to Kenya to help. Britons had undoubtedly been caught up in the "callous and cowardly and brutal" assault at the Westgate mall, said Hague.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the attacks and "expressed their solidarity with the people and Government of Kenya" in a statement.

There was some good news on Sunday, as Kenyan media reported that several people in hiding in the mall escaped to safety, suggesting that not everyone who is still inside is being held by al-Shabab.

Cecile Ndwiga said she had been hiding under a car in the basement parking garage.

"I called my husband to ask the soldiers to come and rescue me. Because I couldn't just walk out anyhow. The shootout was all over here – left, right, just gun shots," she said.

Nairobi resident Paolo Abenavoli said he is holed up in his apartment only 100 meters from the mall with a direct view of the entrance. He said he could see a dozen or more security forces inside a first floor restaurant.

"The battle is on now," Abenavoli told The Associated Press by telephone as the fresh gunfire broke out Sunday.

Security forces had pushed curious crowds far back from the mall. Hundreds of residents gathered on a high ridge above the mall to watch for any activity.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (18)

Pramod
September 22, 2013 12:19 am

Another peace full act by follower of most peace full religion

mimi sur
September 22, 2013 1:05 am

Very tragic and unfortunate . Are these terrorists are muslim first or human first ?Calling themselves Mujahidens and others infidels will bring misery not only to themselves , but to whole humanity .

Tariq Mehsud
September 22, 2013 2:14 am

Those who kill in the name of Islam are not Muslims in india many hindus believe in killing and they have killed many so are they in hindu religion or not?

Practical
September 22, 2013 4:00 am

Opportunity for West to sell more arms and security equipment to Kenya to protect and prevent further terrorist attack

ravi
September 22, 2013 4:06 am

True muslims shaal never do such act, they may call themselvs jihadists but they are actually following satanic ideology and actions are not as per Islamic teachings. All should condemn them.

Shah
September 22, 2013 4:46 am

FYI .. Pakistan Sarkar.. this is another group linked to "peaceful group" that you wish to talk to.. is you do not hear the alarm going off, boy you must be really deaf!!!

Imran
September 22, 2013 4:54 am

@Pramod: Why you peacefull religion goes and invade other countries.

Vijay
September 22, 2013 5:16 am

@Pramod:

Pramod you are totally misunderstanding the religion yaar. If you study deep enough (and may be become Muslim) you will understand how peaceful it is.

G.A.
September 22, 2013 5:30 am

@Pramod: Very ignorant remark. What makes you say they are following it when infact they are doing the complete opposite? It's like accusing all Hindus for the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat and Kashmir.

Awais Ahmed
September 22, 2013 6:44 am

I am very shocked to here that innocent people who have nothing to do with battles have been brutally massacred by armed men. Using the shroud of religion for their heinous crimes doesn't justifies their acts. I hope that people behind this attack will be brought to justice and given exemplary punishments for killing innocent masses. Also it is to be mentioned that such people should be dealt with an iron hand and there must be a long term strategy to contain such acts and people involved in it. We in Pakistan are also facing the same menace of extremism and terrorism. One of the major cause behind these terror acts is over dose of religion given to young minds, rational thinking is not taught from the very early stage. In this way young people with extreme religious minds can be exploited by those who use the cover of religion for their own ambitions.

omer khan shaheen
September 22, 2013 8:14 am

An act of cowards. Very shameful!!!

1
September 22, 2013 9:36 am

I am not against any relegion but I am sure none of the Muslim organisations will condemn this, they always ask about Sharia in other countried. Why u people don't understand if u r muslim then its good for u. If u want islamic law then stay in ur countries why do u come to west. Live and let others live.

giri.
September 22, 2013 10:10 am

I THANK-YOU DAWN FOR MENTIONING THE IDENTITY OF THE RELIGION ) ISLAMIC GUNMAN ,,,, OTHERWISE WHEN I WAS READING IN GULF NEWS THE PAPER HAS NOT MENTION THE RELIGION OF THE TERRORIST M,,, THEY JUST WRITE MASKED GUNMAN .

giri.
September 22, 2013 10:12 am

ONLY MUSLIMS ARE ALLOWED TO STAY ALIVE ON THIS PLANET NON MUSLIMS HAVE TO SEARCH FOR ANOTHER PLANET FOR SURVIVAL .IS IT SO??????????????

vern
September 22, 2013 10:37 am

Shebab - Mujahideen ??. where is the "honour" ? , they are not warriors, they are cowards in every sense of the word.... Cowards with guns executing innocent unarmed civilians.

Ravi Ingale from Pune
September 22, 2013 11:19 am

All Muslims are not terrorist but all Terrorists are Muslims.

pramod
September 22, 2013 3:41 pm

@G.A.: Why Gujrat riots for muslim is always linked to Muslim killing,Why no Muslim erver said that yes we did wrong in Godhra first by burning 60 people alive. Many Muslim youth involved in terrorist activities said that they want to avenge killing of muslims in Gujrat. How many Hindu or christian terrorist group have been formed like in India or for instance Pakistan where minorities are almost wiped out. Its all because of the use of religion. each and every Maulvi give hate sermons (tell me if it is wrong) after Friday prayers. Its been routine in India to pelting stone on people after Namaz. People are there in hindu or other religion as well. but they do not get the support of majority of the people if they try to incite to kill the people on name of religion

pramod
September 22, 2013 3:44 pm

@Imran: Will you please name few. because i really dont know India had invaded any country. but all your so called heroes in Pakistan were invaders only

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