Stand-off at Kenyan mall after Islamists kill 39 in 'terrorist' attack

Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:15pm EDT
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* Al Qaeda-linked Somali Islamists claim attack

* Al Shabaab demanding withdrawal of Kenyan troops from Somalia

* Stand-off in supermarket after mass shooting

* President loses relatives in raid, vows to punish attackers

By Duncan Miriri and James Macharia

NAIROBI, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Kenyan security forces were locked in a stand-off on Sunday with gunmen who killed at least 39 people at an upmarket shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, and it was still unclear how many hostages the al Qaeda-linked militants were holding.

The Somali Islamist group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for Saturday's assault on Nairobi's Westgate mall, which is frequented by Westerners as well as Kenyans.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said more than 39 people had been killed, among them close members of his own family. A senior government official said on his Twitter feed that more than 300 people had been wounded. The dead included children and the wounded ranged in age from two to 78.

France said two of its citizens were dead and Canada said two Canadians had died, including a diplomat. The U.S. State Department said it had reports that American citizens had been hurt, and Britain said its nationals had undoubtedly been affected.   Continued...