On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 15, al-Shabaab terrorists attacked a luxury hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens. According to emerging reports, one American and one British national are among the dead.
The attack began early in the afternoon. An unspecified number of terrorists stormed the hotel’s entrance, lobbing grenades at vehicles and shooting anyone on sight. According to the Kenyan chief of police, Joseph Boinnet, at least one terrorists carried a suicide vest and blew himself up in the lobby. Thereafter, the terrorists spread throughout the hotel complex, killing as they went.
As the attack unfolded, one Kenyan police officer told a BBC reporter, “Things are not good. People are dying.”
Another bystander said, “I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives. I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over.”
Then the Kenyan police and military intervened and neutralized the terrorists. At least one of them appears to have been arrested. Alongside members of the Kenyan police and armed forces, a member of the British Special Air Service (SAS) was caught by cameras helping to evacuate the terrified patrons of the hotel. The SAS have been training the Kenyan military and police in counterterrorism tasks for years, in part due to the colonial connection between the two countries (Kenya used to be part of the British empire).
The Kenyan government has declared the site secure. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang said, “The situation is under control and the country is safe. Terrorism will never defeat us.”
The DusitD2 is a five-star hotel with more than 100 rooms, several restaurants and cafes, and a spa. Its luxurious amenities and proximity to the Kenyan capital’s business district mean it is regularly frequented by wealthy locals and international tourists.
Al-Shabaab claims to have killed 47 people, but that number appears to have been inflated for propaganda purposes.
Kenya, and particularly Nairobi, has repeatedly been the target of Islamic terrorists in the last few years. DusitD2 is only a mile away from the Westgate Shopping Centre, the site of another al-Shabaab terrorist attack in 2013. In that attack, the Islamic terrorists stormed the busy mall and spread mayhem, killing 67 people and wounding hundreds.
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