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World UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

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    Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack


    Video and extensive photo coverage at this link
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24191606


    A senior figure in the Somali militant group al-Shabab has told the BBC it carried out a deadly attack on a shopping centre in neighbouring Kenya.

    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said 39 people had been killed, including members of his family, and 150 injured.

    The operation to secure the mall and catch the gunmen was ongoing, he said in a national TV address. |

    Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, said the attack was in response to Kenya's presence in Somalia.

    Al-Shabab's claim that it carried out Saturday's deadly attack will have come as no surprise to those in the region. Ever since Kenyan forces went into Somalia in 2011 to push the militant al-Qaeda-linked group back from their common border, al-Shabab has threatened to step up its attacks inside Kenya.

    Since then, it has carried out sporadic gun, bomb and grenade attacks on churches, security forces and other targets, but nothing on this scale.

    The Westgate attack bears similarities to the Mumbai siege of 2008 where heavily armed jihadist gunmen attacked "soft" (undefended) city targets, killing as many civilians as possible, taking hostages where they could, and taking maximum advantage of the surrounding publicity.

    That prompted a complete rethink in counter-terrorism in Britain, with the realisation that the UK was unprepared at the time for such a determined attack.

    On its Twitter feed, al-Shabab said it was behind what it called the "Westgate spectacle".

    In his TV address, Mr Kenyatta said security forces were "in the process of neutralising the attackers and securing the mall".

    He went on: "We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime."

    He said he had "personally lost family members in the Westgate attack".
    Trapped

    The attackers entered the Westgate centre at about 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT), throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons.

    Dozens of shoppers fled; many were trapped inside. Officers have been going from shop to shop to secure the area.

    Some seven hours after the assault began, al-Shabab said on Twitter that its fighters were still battling Kenyan security forces inside the Westgate centre.

    A security source told the AFP news agency police and soldiers had finally "pinned down" the gunmen in one corner of the shopping centre after several hours of fighting.

    One gunman was arrested and died of his wounds, Kenyan officials told the BBC. Four other gunmen were arrested.

    Al-Shabab has claimed on its Twitter account that the Kenyan government wants to negotiate an end to the Westgate attack, but officials have told the BBC they intend to hunt the gunmen down.

    The BBC's Anne Soy is ordered to lie down, as military vehicles move in

    Some witnesses said the gunmen had told Muslims to leave and said non-Muslims would be targeted.

    "They came and said: 'If you are Muslim, stand up. We've come to rescue you," said Elijah Lamau.

    He said the Muslims left with their hands up, and then the gunmen shot two people.

    The correspondent in Nairobi for the Economist, Daniel Howden told the BBC he spoke to one man with a Christian first name but a Muslim-sounding surname who managed to escape the attackers by putting his thumb over his first name on his ID.

    However, the man told Mr Howden that an Indian man standing next to him who was asked for the name of the Prophet Muhammad's mother was shot dead when he was unable to answer.

    The BBC's Mark Doyle, who is embedded with the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia, says the AU troops attack al-Shabab where they can.

    Al-Shabab says the AU forces are invaders stopping their legitimate vision of creating an Islamic state and respond by mounting hit-and-run attacks, our correspondent says.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there would "undoubtedly" be British nationals caught up in Saturday's events.

    He confirmed that the UK government's emergency committee Cobra met on Saturday afternoon.

    The US State Department says it has reports that American citizens were injured in what it called "a senseless act of violence".

    This is one of the worst incidents in Kenya since the attack on the US embassy in August 1998.
     

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  3. spnadmin

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  4. spnadmin

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Latest Reuters update

    Islamist gunmen holed up with hostages in Kenya siege, 59 dead

    By Richard Lough and Edmund Blair

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/22/us-kenya-attack-idUSBRE98K03V20130922

    (Reuters) - Islamist militants were holed up with hostages on Sunday at a shopping mall in Nairobi, where at least 59 people have been killed in an attack by the al Shabaab group that opposes Kenya's participation in a peacekeeping mission in neighboring Somalia.

    A volley of gunfire lasting about 30 seconds interrupted a stalemate of several hours, a Reuters witness said, speaking from near the Westgate shopping centre that has several Israeli-owned outlets and is frequented by expatriates and Kenyans.

    Foreigners, including three Britons and two diplomats - one from Canada and another from Ghana - were killed in Saturday's attack at the upmarket mall, claimed by Somali group al Shabaab.

    Shortly after the shots were fired, troops in camouflage ran crouching below a restaurant terrace along the front of the building that had been buzzing with customers when assailants charged in. One witness said they first told Muslims to leave.

    For hours after the brazen attack, the dead were strewn around tables of unfinished meals. At one burger restaurant, a man and woman lay in a final embrace after they had been killed, before their bodies were removed. Pop music was left playing.

    Scores of Kenyans gathered at a site overlooking the mall, awaiting what they expected to be a violent denouement. "They entered through blood, that's how they'll leave," said Jonathan Maungo, a private security guard.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta, facing his first major security challenge since a March election, said some of his close family members were among the dead, and vowed to defeat the militants.

    "We have overcome terrorist attacks before," he said.

    The assault was the biggest single attack in Kenya since al Qaeda's East Africa cell bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998, killing more than 200 people. In 2002, the same militant cell attacked an Israeli-owned hotel on the coast and tried to shoot down an Israeli jet in a coordinated strike.

    Al Shabaab's siege underlined its ability to cause major disruptions with relatively limited resources.

    "In terms of capacity, while the group has grown considerably weaker in terms of being able to wage a conventional war, it is now ever more capable of carrying out asymmetric warfare," said Abdi Aynte, director of the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute of Policy Studies, a regional policy and security think tank.

    COSTLY FOR KENYA

    Aynte also said the raid showed "a major failure on the part of the Kenyan security services", which had not detected an operation that must have taken several months to plan. Other experts said Western agencies had also not picked it up.

    Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku told reporters the death toll had risen to 59, and that security forces were doing everything they could to rescue hostages still inside the mall.

    He added that 175 people had been taken to hospital after an assault that could prove a costly setback for east Africa's biggest economy, which relies heavily on tourism revenues.

    Kenya's deputy president, William Ruto, asked judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to allow him to return home to help deal with the siege and its aftermath.

    He and Kenyatta face charges of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in coordinating violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country's contested 2007 elections.

    The dead in Saturday's assault included children, and the wounded ranged in age from 2 to 78. Many victims were at a cooking competition when assailants opened fire on them, witnesses said. More than 1,000 people were evacuated.

    The focus of attention on Sunday was on Nakumatt supermarket, one of Kenya's biggest chains.

    Soldiers joined the security operation backed by armored personnel carriers in the hours after the attack that was launched around 12.30 p.m. (0930 GMT) on Saturday. Security forces have been combing through the mall, clearing the floors.

    As helicopters hovered over the capital, a paramilitary officer at the scene, a rifle slung over his shoulder, said: "They will be arranging how to attack (the assailants)."

    An Israeli security source said that Israeli advisers were at the scene helping Kenya to work out how to end the siege.

    One woman emerged on Sunday morning after hiding under a vehicle in the basement car park.

    Giving her name as Cecilia, she told Reuters by telephone later that she had seen three men who looked like they were of Arab extraction judging by their skin color.

    "They were shooting from the exit ramp, shooting everywhere," she said. "I saw people being shot all around me, some with blood pouring from bad wounds. I was just praying, praying God keep me alive and that my day hadn't come."

    TAUNTS

    France said two of its citizens were killed, and Canada said two Canadians died, including a 29-year-old diplomat. Ghanaian diplomat and poet, Kofi Awoonor, was also killed, as was a Chinese woman, according to China's official news agency.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who offered assistance to Kenya in the incident, said several U.S. citizens had been hurt and the wife of a U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed.

    Al Shabaab, which is battling Kenyan and other African peacekeepers in Somalia, had repeatedly threatened attacks in Kenya if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of their country.

    The group appeared to taunt the security forces, saying on its official Twitter handle @HSM_Press that there would be no negotiations whatsoever with Kenyan officials over the standoff.

    "10 hours have passed and the Mujahideen are still strong inside #Westgate Mall and still holding their ground. All praise is due to Allah!", the group said late on Saturday, although its account on Twitter was suspended on Sunday morning.

    Ole Lenku said the government believed that there were 10-15 attackers who security forces had been able to "isolate", but no communication had yet been established with them.

    Those rescued said at least one of the assailants was a woman. One militant was shot and arrested in clashes following the initial siege, but died shortly afterwards at a hospital.

    A private security firm would normally search patrons of the mall using metal detectors and open the trunks of cars entering parking areas, but guards would be unarmed. Witnesses said the attackers had AK-47 rifles and wore ammunition belts.

    Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October 2011 to pursue militants it blamed for kidnapping tourists and attacking its security forces.

    Al Shabaab's last big attack outside Somalia was a twin assault in nearby Uganda, targeting people watching the World Cup final on television in Kampala in 2010, killing 77 people.
     
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  5. aristotle

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    A Sikh volunteering in the relief work
     

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  6. Ambarsaria

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Possible unconfirmed list of participants and how it has global participation. Given internal fighting within Al-Shabab probably a masterful stroke of some people to get rid of foreigners among their ranks (reported lot of infighting within Al-Shabab with the killing of prominent American terorist who was previously high member of the movement as reported by the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/22/kenya-attack-power-struggle-al-shabaab),

    Sayid N. from Kismayu, Somalia.
    Zaki Jama C., from Hargeisa, Somalia
    Saad D., from Damascus, Syria
    Mohamed B., from Aleppo, Syria
    Qasim Said M., Garissa, Kenya
    Ismail G., from Helsinki, Finland
    Ahmed Nasir S., from London, UK
    Mustafa N., from Kansas City, US
    Abdishakur Sheikh H., from Maine, US
    Abdifatah Osman K., from Minneapolis, US
    Ahmad Mohamed I., from Saint Paul, US
    Abdikarem Ali M., from Illinois, US
    Shafie D., from Tucson, US
    Abdirazak M., from Ontario (Canada)
    Eliko M., from Dagestan, Russia
    Mohammed A., from Svalov, Sweden
    Moulid A., from Sweden
     
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  7. AngloSikhPeace

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    BBC has confirmed that there were no British residents involved in the attack.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24201575
     
  8. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    [​IMG]


    Sikh family wounded in Kenya attack .


    there s was an attack on a Church in Pakistan yesterday that killed more than 60 .

    .

    whats going on in Islamic World? , "religion of peace" became threat to world peace :confusedmunda:
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    A Sikh life, a Christian life, a Hindu life, a Canadian life, an Australian life, a Ghanian life, a Peruvian life, a New Zealander life, a Chinese life, a British life, a French life, an American life, a Dutch life, a South African life, an Indian life, a Kenyan life, at least 69 lives ... let us not forget the many lives lost, and each human life as valuable as the other.

    As I write this, blasts/explosions are coming from the mall. Who knows how many more among the hostages being held are no longer.

    Blast shake Nairobi Mall, Smoke pours from building

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/23/us-kenya-attack-idUSBRE98K03V20130923

    Nairobi Westgate attack: 'Assault begins' to break siege
    less than 15 minutes ago

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24206913
     
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  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Ambarsaria ji

    I do appreciate your filling in the information regarding who these attackers were. When I count there were 6 attackers from the US then I recognize that we here under the stars and stripes need to take a closer look at something that some of us have under-estimated.

    Our forum moderator aristotle ji is doing some very interesting research that will open eyes about motivations that lie behind these jihads -- and I hope he will be posting his findings very soon.
     
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  11. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Terrorists apparently have blow themselves up. Westgate Shopping Centre on fire amid fears that terrorists have carried out suicide bomb attack


    • Architect Ross Langdon, who had dual Australian and British nationality, is confirmed among the dead
    • His Harvard-educated girlfriend Elif Yavuz was also killed. She was two weeks away from giving birth
    • Foreign Office confirmed on Monday that four Britons have been killed in the atrocity
    • Kenyan government says two militants have died in battle to retake the building
    • Claims that five of the attackers are American and two are British
    • Kenyan military official says terrorists are a 'multinational collection from all over the world'
    • Al Shabaab militants today said they would kill the remaining hostages inside the Westgate Shopping Centre
    • Kenyan official reveals he suspects the involvement of fugitive 7/7 'white widow' Samantha Lewthwaite
    • Men, women and children slaughtered if they could not recite Koran or name Prophet Mohammed's mother
    • Terrorists told French citizen 'they want to kill Kenyans and Americans'
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ts-holding-dozens-hostages.html#ixzz2fip2ZIkh
     
  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    The most recent information updated as of 11:47 ET hours. It appears that some militants are not dead and that fire in the mall is as widespread as reported by the Daily Mail.
    There are 62 confirmed dead, and not 69 as previously reported

    From the BBC

    Nairobi attack: Kenya forces storm Westgate centre


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24206913


    Kenyan security forces have launched an assault on the Westgate shopping complex in the capital Nairobi in an attempt to break the three-day siege.

    Sporadic gunfire is continuing at the mall, where suspected al-Shabab militants remain holed up.

    The Kenya Defence Forces said three "terrorists" had been killed and all escape routes sealed off, with troops now focusing on clearing the building.

    The official death toll stands at 62 and more than 170 have been injured.

    The Somali Islamist al-Shabab movement has said it carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

    Even if foreign forces are giving advice or even more, the Kenyan authorities are unlikely to want to give the impression that they can not deal with this crisis themselves.

    There were earlier reports of sustained gunfire and dozens of Kenyan troops were seen crossing the road into the Westgate centre, from where a thick plume of black smoke was billowing.

    The Kenyan security forces (KDF) said the fire had been started by "terrorists to distract the ongoing operation", and that the blaze was being managed by firefighters.

    It said 10 bodies had been retrieved from the building in the last 24 hours. More than 200 civilians have been rescued, 65 of whom remain in hospital.

    The KDF said 11 of its soldiers had been injured during the stand-off.

    Earlier, police used tear gas to disperse crowds of onlookers gathered close to the Westgate Centre.

    The Interior Ministry warned said in a tweet: "We are pleading with you, #WestGateMall is a scene of crime. For your own safety keep off that area. Roads leading there have been cordoned."

    Security has also been stepped up at entrance and exit points across the country, with "more than 10 individuals" arrested in relation to the attack, the ministry said.

    However, it did not specify when or where the arrests were made.

    Kenyan soldiers stormed the building early on Monday, in what appeared to be a dramatic turn of events in the security forces' operation.

    Television pictures showed troops running towards the complex. There were reports of heavy gunfire and explosions. Officials said about 10 attackers were thought to be inside.

    It is not clear as yet what caused the blasts, or what impact they are having on the operation to rescue hostages held by the militants.

    Repeated threats

    More than 1,000 people were inside the mall complex when the attack began on Saturday.

    Dr Sunil Sachdeva, a dentist who runs a clinic inside the mall, described the scene as the attack unfolded.

    "There was a tent where a cookery competition for children was carrying on and there were bodies lying under there," he told the BBC.

    "There's a very famous radio presenter in Kenya, she was shot. The scene was carnage and there was a guy lying right in the corner. He was cut to shreds."

    Prominent Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor - who was attending a literary festival in Nairobi - also died, as did a Chinese woman.

    French, Dutch, South African, Indian and Canadian nationals are also among the foreigners confirmed killed, along with a dual Australian-British national.

    Thousands of Kenyans have been responding to appeals for blood donations.

    Al-Shabab says it carried out the attack in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

    The group, which is part of the al-Qaeda network, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

    There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia, where they have been fighting the militants since 2011 as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

    Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

    Despite being pushed out of key cities in the past two years, it still remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside.
     
  13. Satyaban

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Until I visited this thread I was of the understanding that three of these animals were from America. There is a difference between being American and being from America. Someone who comes here to enjoy our largess and feed at the teat of the U.S. government and even becoming a citizen is not an American if their allegiance is not to this country. Like the bombers in Boston who are dogs, when have a lot of kennels in America and some have mad dogs in them. Unfortunately a very few of these kennels have minarets.

    I am so sick and tired of these militant Muslims who are like an infection on the planet. Bombing and more bombings and murders in so many different places around the globe. When this really gets me down I remember this quote:

    When in despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall--think of it, always.
    -- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn::eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />
     
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    #12 Satyaban, Sep 24, 2013
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  14. aristotle

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Satyaban Ji,
    Neither are all Muslims terrorists, nor are all terrorists Muslims.
     
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  15. harmanpreet singh

    harmanpreet singh India
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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    i agree with you aristotle ji i know many Muslims are peaceful but in more than 90% attacks Muslims are involved

    i feel ( i may be wrong ) there is something fundamentally went wrong with Islamic philosophy ,that lead to such attacks by Islamists , No one know this better than Sikhi from history .all the world is burning due to them , look at Syria ,Iraq,Pakistan,Afganistan , Sudan ,Somalia ,Egypt... Killings of Shia s ,Sunni,Ahmadi,non Muslims ,they have made this planet a Hell .
     
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  16. aristotle

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Islamic terrorism is a real danger. But 'Militant muslims' is way different from 'Islamic terrorists'. Its the tone that matters a lot.
     
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  17. AngloSikhPeace

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    Why 'militant Muslims'? These fascists who attacked Kenya are no different from the man who attacked Oak Creek in Wisconsin. They package it in different ways, they have different religions and skin colours but the root problem is the same. Krodh.

    Krodh has taken over their brains and driven them insane, they think all the evil they commit is fully moral and that everyone they kill deserves it.
     
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  18. Satyaban

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)


    I think you misunderstood me. I said "militant" Muslims not "Muslims". Also I did not say all terrorist were Muslims. My comment was driven by the subject of this thread.

    I find all terrorism abhorrent but currently militant Muslims, Islamists have center stage.
     
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  19. spnadmin

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    In fact, the term "Islamist," both within the community of Muslim advocacy, and within foreign affairs and intelligence communities, is taken to mean "militant." Those who translate a militant philosophy into violent acts against perceived "enemies of Islam" are considered "terrorists."

    So we could be focused on the finer distinction between "militant" and "terrorist." A terrorist would be someone who translates militancy into violent action.

    Otherwise, the gist of Satyaban's comments are clear to me. I did not take his comments to be generalizing to all Muslims.
     
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    #18 spnadmin, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  20. Satyaban

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    re: UPDATED!! Somalia Al-Shabab claims Nairobi Westgate Kenya attack (& Video)

    I beg to differ with you the nature of the attackers in each case.

    I believe the attackers in Wisconsin were motivated by ignorance and hate whereas the attackers in Kenya were driven by a twisted religious political hatred. First they are religious extremists who think they are doing God's work which makes killing innocents for their religion to be God's work. Second, their suspected aim is to get the Kenyan military out of Somalia, as I say suspected, although their target was a up-scale mall frequented by upper class foreigners and Kenyans.

    The above is what I am thinking based on what information I have but if all of the terrorists are not connected to Somalia in some way everything could change.
     
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  21. spnadmin

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    Kenya says it 'defeated' mall militants, death toll 67

    Death toll now stands at 67 victims and 5 terrorists. Unconfirmed reports that 11 were arrested; 2 white women were part of the al Shabaab attacks. Reported by The Guardian

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/24/kenya-mall-siege-authorities-try-to-secure-control-live

    By Richard Lough and Edmund Blair

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/24/us-kenya-attack-idUSBRE98K03V20130924?sdf=undefined

    (Reuters) - Kenya's president said his forces had "defeated" Islamists from Somalia's al Shabaab on Tuesday, shooting dead five and capturing 11 others suspected of killing 67 people during a four-day siege at a shopping mall.

    "The operation is now over," Uhuru Kenyatta told Kenyans in a televised address, adding that more bodies, seemingly both gunmen and hostages, remained under rubble after three floors in part of the Westgate center collapsed late in the mission.

    "We have ashamed and defeated our attackers," he said.

    Police said those who stormed into restaurants and shops at a busy lunchtime on Saturday, spraying bullets and grenades, were now either dead or in custody: "Now it is for the forensic and criminal experts," said a police spokesman, Masoud Mwinyi.

    The Red Cross said earlier on Tuesday that 63 people were unaccounted for. About 60 civilians were already confirmed dead in the first days of violence. Kenyan officials declined to say late on Tuesday how many more may have died later, with gunmen who had vowed to kill hostages and go down fighting if attacked.

    It also remained unclear who the attackers were, beyond their loyalty to al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which had demanded Kenya pull troops out of Somalia. The president said he could not confirm they included two or three Americans or a British woman who might be the widow of a London suicide bomber.

    However, al Shabaab themselves, on Twitter, denied that any women took part. After days of trumpeting defiance on behalf of those holding out in the mall, however, the group's silence on their fate late on Tuesday suggested their mission had ended.

    "There are several bodies trapped in the rubble, including the terrorists," Kenyatta said. He put the confirmed death toll so far at 61 civilians and six security personnel, as well as five of the militants. The official toll previously stood at 62.

    Officials said the gunmen had set a major fire on Monday in a supermarket. On Tuesday, a thin trail of smoke drifted into a soggy sky as darkness fell, the result, rescue volunteers said, of soldiers detonating locked doors in a search for militants.

    Police were letting some people retrieve cars left behind when shoppers fled in panic as gunmen, whom officials had said numbered about a dozen or more, burst upon them. But journalists and others were still kept well away behind a security cordon.

    FOREIGNERS

    The president said he could not confirm intelligence reports of British and American militants, adding that forensic tests were being carried out to establish their nationalities. On Monday, the government denied speculation of women being among the guerrillas, but said some had been dressed as women. That may have been a ploy to smuggle more weapons past mall guards.

    It would be unusual for Islamist militants to put women on the frontline and al Shabaab categorically denied it. British media have speculated about the involvement of the "White Widow", the fugitive British wife of one of the four men who blew themselves up in the 7/7 bombings in London in July 2005.

    "We have an adequate number of young men who are fully committed & we do not employ our sisters in such military operations #Westgate," al Shabaab said on its Twitter feed.

    Making no mention of gunmen still in the mall, it also drew a link to the most recent Islamist attack in London, when a soldier was stabbed to death on a busy street in May in the suburb of Woolwich. Michael Adebolajo and a fellow British Muslim convert of Nigerian descent face trial for murder.

    "It's an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth...' Remember Mujahid Adebolajo? This is what he meant. His was #Woolwich, #Westgate ours!" another al Shabaab Twitter post read.

    Kenyatta said: "These cowards will meet justice as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are."

    KENYATTA

    He thanked other leaders, including President Barack Obama, for support and used his address to both praise the response of the Kenyan people and call for national unity, six months after his election was marked by ethnic tensions.

    "Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed," he said.

    Kenyatta's focus on Kenya's troubles, and of his role in a global campaign against terrorism, was a reminder that he faces trial at The Hague in a few weeks time for crimes against humanity over violence that followed a previous election, in 2007. The International Criminal Court adjourned the trial of his vice president this week because of the Westgate crisis.

    The president and his government have urged the ICC to drop the case and warm words for the Kenyan leadership from Western allies during the siege may have encouraged their hopes that the court might be pressed to shelve proceedings in the interests of shoring up an important partner in the fight against al Qaeda.

    The attack has come at a time when several violent Islamist groups from Mali to Algeria, Nigeria to Kenya - tapping into local grievances but all espousing an anti-Western, anti-Christian creed - are striking at state authority and international interests.

    Kenyatta had rejected demands that he pull Kenyan troops out of its northern neighbor. As part of an African peacekeeping force in Somalia, those soldiers have pushed al Shabaab on to the defensive over the past two years.

    Its attack on an Israeli-built complex that symbolized the rise of an affluent class of Africans alongside expatriate Westerns may now help the movement to a position of prominence in the widening constellation of international jihadists.

    Images from closed-circuit television inside the mall during the attack showed two militants, casually dressed and wearing ammunition belts. One held an assault rifle. Al Shabaab confirmed he pair were part of the group that attacked Westgate.

    Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said earlier that "two or three Americans" and a British woman were among the militants. She said the Americans were "young men, about between maybe 18 and 19" years old. She said they were of Somali or Arab origin and had lived in "in Minnesota and one other place".

    Al Shabaab, which said it had been in communication with its members in the mall, dismissed the minister's comments.

    "WHITE WIDOW?"

    A British security source said it was possible that Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, was involved in the Nairobi siege in some way. "It is a possibility. But nothing definitive or conclusive yet," the source said.

    Lewthwaite is thought to have left Britain several years ago and is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack expensive hotels and restaurants in Kenya.

    President Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said he believed the country - scene of one of al Qaeda's first big attacks, in 1998 - would continue to be a regional pillar of stability.

    Somalia's prime minister appealed in Geneva on Tuesday for international support to combat al Shabaab but said a military solution to their insurgency alone was not enough.

    Abdi Farah Shirdon said: "We still have a difficult journey ahead of us. A military solution alone is not enough, promotion of rule of law, greater regional cooperation and economic stability and provision of public services are all key factors."

    British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he believed six Britons had died in the attack. Other known foreign victims are from China, Ghana, France, the Netherlands and Canada.
     
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