Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

ALERT - Militant extremist attack Kenya's Nairobi

ALERT - Militant extremist attack Kenya's Nairobi

The second police officer said that at one point they had been sure the attackers had been neutralised after a long period without shooting, however gunfire resumed again after 02:00.

What appeared to be plainclothes security forces inched their way toward the scene, guns in hand.

Al-Shabab - the Somalia-based Islamic group that carried out the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead - claimed responsibility.

"We are under attack", another person in an office inside the complex told Reuters news agency, then hung up.

One survivor of the attack on the Nairobi hotel conplex hid in a fridge to escape the gunmen as they shot at officers workers.

The Westgate attack resulted in many upscale establishments and shopping centres in the capital - including the Dusit - putting up strict security barriers to check cars and pedestrians.

According to Kenya's Daily Nation, five people were killed on the terrace at the hotel complex's Secret Garden restaurant by a suicide bomber.

Police evacuated scores of Kenyans and foreigners from the hotel and office buildings, which included the local offices of multinational companies such as Dow Chemical and Colgate-Palmolive.

This frame taken from video shows a scene of an explosion in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, Tuesday Jan. 15, 2019. "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of this individual", a State Department official said.

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Unidentified assailants disembarked from at least one vehicle at the security gate and threw grenades at guards as they entered the complex, according to Citizen TV, a local private broadcaster. Many more have been wounded with local hospitals asking for blood donations. Some office workers climbed out of windows.

"One man said he saw two armed men with scarves on their head and bandoliers of bullets", Medic told Reuters, as gunfire echoed in the background.

The attack comes as the country marks the three-year anniversary of an Al-Shabaab attack on the El Adde military base which killed over 140 Kenyan soldiers. "The blast was so loud and shook the whole complex".

As a helicopter flew low overhead witnesses at the scene said the gunmen and security forces were engaged in a fierce firefight. A bomb disposal unit was called in, and police blew up a auto they said had explosives inside.

"A lot of people ran when the first few explosions happened, there was a mad rush for the exit", he said. A fourth suspect was freed for lack of evidence.

The al-Qaida-linked group has killed hundreds of people in Kenya.

Kenya suffered a spate of attacks after it sent its army into Somalia in October 2011 to fight the jihadist group. Others appeared to take cover behind fountains and other features in the lush outdoor complex.

The five patients were brought to M P Shah Hospital and one of them died, said Toseef Din, the facility's chief operating officer.

The complex under attack is less than 2 kilometers from Westgate Mall and is in what is considered one of the most secure areas of the city. The hotel's website says it is "cocooned away from the hustle and bustle in a secure and peaceful haven".

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