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KENYA ATTACK: Death toll rises to 21 – govt

Security forces escorting the citizens out of the attacked hotel. (AGENCIES PHOTO)

NAIROBI – Kenya government has confirmed 21 as the number of people that were killed when Somali militants stormed a luxury hotel compound in the capital Nairobi.

It says at least 28 were severely injured people and are currently admitted to hospital, and Kenya’s Red Cross said 19 are still missing.

Somalia-based Islamist group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack, which triggered a 19-hour security operation.

According to Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenya President the siege ended with five jihadist attackers “eliminated”.

Kenya has been a target for al-Shabab since October 2011, when it sent its army into Somalia to fight the jihadist group.

During the siege, civilians were escorted to safety by security forces Tuesday night, amid sporadic bursts of gunfire and the boom of explosions. Many had spent hours hiding in their offices.

In a televised address, President Kenyatta said “every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act” would be “relentlessly” pursued.

According to Reuters news agency, al-Shabab issued a statement calling the attack “a response” to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The move last year overturned decades of US foreign policy, and drew international criticism.

Jerusalem is a sacred city in Islam, Judaism and Christianity – and while Israel regards the whole of Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future state.

Some of the victims

US citizen Jason Spindler is among the dead. His brother, Jonathan, announced on Twitter that Jason had survived the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001.

Jason Spindler was one of those rare men who was loved by pretty much anyone be touched in Kenya and around the world.

British citizen Luke Potter, who held dual South African nationality, was also killed, and another Briton was wounded, the UK Foreign Office said.

Reuters news agency; Two Kenyan friends, Abdalla Dahir and Feisal Ahmed, were having lunch together in the grounds of the hotel when the suicide bomber struck. Friends described the pair as inseparable.

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