Nairobi siege: SAS man is 'hero' after saving 100
Soldier returned to Westgate mall '12 times' to rescue shoppers despite heavy gunfire inside
AN off-duty member of Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) is being hailed as the hero of the Nairobi terrorist attack after saving as many as 100 people from the gunmen.
The officer, who cannot be named for security reasons, was photographed helping two women escape from the Westgate mall as al-Shabaab militants slaughtered 62 people inside. A pistol is clearly visible tucked into the waistband of his jeans.
The Daily Mail says the man was drinking coffee with friends when the attack began. After escorting two women from the building he returned "on a dozen occasions, despite heavy gunfire".
A friend of the soldier told the paper: "He went back in 12 times and saved 100 people. Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside."
The SAS regularly "train and operate" out of Kenya and have been involved in the search for UK citizens believed to be involved with Islamist militants in Somalia and Yemen. Former members of the Special Forces work with both the UK and Kenyan governments and security firms across East Africa.
SAS officers helped Kenyan troops in their efforts to free the last hostages, the Daily Mail reports. The British soldiers were also on "standby" to take part in the assault.
While the SAS man is unlikely to take credit for his actions in Nairobi, his bravery was hailed on social media today.
Big #hattip to the SAS soldier in Nairobi. No thought for his own safety, brave boy
— Brian Phillpotts (@bphillpotts) September 24, 2013
— Alex Kay (@KayOrder) September 24, 2013
"Makes you proud to be British and proud of the armed forces stories like this! Good man," a user called Caer Daun wrote on Twitter. ·