A horrific terrorist attack took place at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, over the weekend. On Monday afternoon, local time, Kenyan forces again raided the mall, killing two additional members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. They reclaimed control of the shopping center, moving closer to an end of the hostage situation that began on Saturday and claimed the lives of at least 69 people. This is the latest in Al-Shabaab’s campaign of terror, motivated by Islamic extremism, targeting Christians and non-Muslims across East Africa.
The nightmare scenario started Saturday, about 12:00 p.m. local time. The terrorists entered the Westgate Shopping Mall in the Kenyan capital, indiscriminately firing automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades. They then began targeting Christians and non-Muslims. According to the BBC, witness reported the terrorists “told Muslims to leave and said non-Muslims would be targeted.” The Independent reports, “Some non-Muslims who attempted to talk their way past the fighters armed with grenades and AK-47s were asked to identify the mother of the Prophet. Those who could not were shot on the spot.” Targeting of Christians by Al-Shabaab is even more direct as they had been criticized by Osama bin Laden for their indiscriminate killing of Muslims. Bin Laden warned that the group was killing too many Muslims in their attacks
The death toll from the attack continues to rise as Kenyan security forces regain control of the scene. The Westgate Mall is a prominent hangout for tourists and upscale Kenyans. Victims of the deadly attack include nationals from at least 11 different countries, including England, Canada, France, China, and India, as well as dozens of Kenyans, including a nephew of Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta. Some 200 people were wounded in the attacks, including five Americans,
The FBI is investigating whether or not Americans were among the terrorists who killed at least 62 people in a deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi. As of Monday morning, hostages were still being held, and firing between militants from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group and security forces continued.