Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, or Al-Shabab (translated “The Mujahadeen Youth Movement”), an Islamic group based out of Somalia, has claimed responsibility for a highly effective attack on a large mall located in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend. Kenyan officials have announced that the mall is now under control as of 1458 EST.
The attack began Saturday when a number of armed individuals entered the mall. They reportedly entered from different locations and began opening fire after announcing that all Muslims should leave. The standing death toll, published by the Kenyan government, has reached 62 killed, 65 wounded, 11 Kenyan Defense Forces wounded, and over 200 civilians rescued from the situation.
Shortly after the attacks commenced, the now-deactivated Twitter feed of Al-Shabab claimed responsibility with the following tweet: “The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar (infidels) inside their own turf,” “What Kenyans are witnessing at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military.”
Though unconfirmed specifically by the United States government, reports indicate that a number of the Al-Shabab attackers were from America, and evidently citizens of the United States. The FBI is currently investigating these claims.
Aside from Kenyan citizens killed and wounded, other victims of the attack were from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Australia, South Korea, Canada, and India. The mall itself is owned by an Israeli business. The mall itself is stated as being five stories with 350,000 square feet.
The Somali government has been assisted by Kenyan Defense Forces in their fight against Al-Shabab, which is assumed to be the justification of this attack.
As with most global events lately, there are a number of high-quality, raw pictures of the aftermath available (WARNING: Graphic:):
An excellent timeline of events can be found at RT.com.
We’ll have some more “What if” analysis on this situation develops.