In Brief

Kenya hotel attack: 21 dead, 50 still missing

Al-Shabaab terrorist group says attack was ‘response’ to Donald Trump’s decision to move Israeli capital to Jerusalem

At least 21 people have been killed and more than 50 are still missing following a major terrorist attack in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

An American and a Briton are among those confirmed to have died when militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the DusitD2 hotel and office compound on Tuesday afternoon, CNN reports.

The five attackers are believed to have been members of Somali terror group al-Shabaab, which immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Gunfire between security forces and militants continued into the early hours of Wednesday. This morning President Uhuru Kenyatta told reporters police had brought the situation under control and that all the terrorists had been “eliminated”.

The official death toll, initially reported as 15, rose to 21 yesterday as authorities recovered more bodies from the scene.

A total of 16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American and three unidentified people of African origin are confirmed to have been killed.

At least 28 people have been hospitalised with injuries, and investigators are attempting to trace a further 50 people who remain unaccounted for, reports the BBC.

The jihadist attackers stormed the complex at around 3pm local time on Tuesday. Surveillance footage showed one of the militants detonating a suicide vest in the foyer of the hotel.

In the moments after the explosions, “flames and plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky from the parking lot of the compound where several vehicles were on fire”, says Al Jazeera, which reports that “scores of people” were seen fleeing on foot, some of them injured.

“One man came out covered in blood,” and an image of the aftermath circulating on social media “showed what appeared to be a human leg” lying on a path outside the hotel, reports Reuters.

According to the news agency, al-Shabab issued a statement calling the attack “a response” to US President Donald Trump's decision in December 2017 to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The group said that its fighters stormed the complex on the instructions of al-Qa'eda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, adds South-Africa based website News24.

“It is a response to the witless remarks of the US president, Donald Trump, and his declaration of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel,” the statement said.

“Al-Quds will never be Judaised. Know that we will hold you to account for every Muslim blood spilt in Palestine; ounce for ounce.”

Meanwhile, in a televised address, President Kenyatta vowed that the Kenyan government would “relentlessly” pursue “every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act”.

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