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Two Indians among 43 killed in Nairobi mall attack

Published: 22nd September 2013 08:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2013 02:38 PM   |  A+A-

Kenya_AP
By IANS

The toll in the bloody terror strike carried out by gunmen in an upscale shopping mall in Kenya's capital Nairobi Saturday has risen to 43, Kenya Red Cross Society said Sunday. Among the killed were his close relatives, President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

Over 200 other people have been injured.

Gunshots could still be heard from the Westgate Shopping Mall from time to time, Xinhua reported Sunday morning.

Kenyan security forces were entering the mall, trying to rescue the hostages alive, the reports said.

But the number of hostages taken is still unknown, Kenya's KTN TV station reported, citing the Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre.

The hostages were being held in multiple locations within tghe sprawling mall and the gunmen were contained in one location, the report said.

Two Indians, including an eight-year-old boy, son of a local Indian banker, were among those killed. Four other Indians were injured, an Indian government spokesman said in New Delhi Sunday.

Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, said the two killed Indians were 40-year-old Sridhar Natarajan, who belonged to Tamil Nadu, and eight-year-old Paramshu Jain, the son of a Bank of Baroda local branch manager.

"According to the Indian diplomats who are at medical facilities treating those injured in Nairobi attack, 4 Indians injured, 2 others sadly died," Akbaruddin posted on Twitter.

Among the four injured Indians were two women, an adult male and a girl.

Somalia-based militant group Al Shabab claimed responsibility for Saturday's shooting spree. It said it had warned the Kenyan government that failure to pull out its troops from Somalia would lead to serious consequences.

Akbaruddin said the Indian mission in Nairobi was in touch with the families of those killed and injured, and would provide all help.

The husband of a woman trapped in the Nakumatt supermarket on the ground floor of the mall told Xinhua that she sent him a message through cellphone which said there were about 60 to 70 people trapped in the supermarket.

The message was sent around 3.43 a.m. Relatives of some other hostages said there were many bodies in the supermarket.

A Kenyan police officer told Xinhua that the gunmen have been cornered but the standoff was still going on as they were holding hostages.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a televised address late Saturday that the gunmen killed at least 39 people and injured more than 150 others.

"With the entire nation, I stand with the families of those who have lost their lives and extend every Kenyan's deepest condolences," Kenyatta said.

An emotional Kenyatta also confirmed that he lost some of his very close family members.

"I know how you feel, having also personally lost very close family members. I ask god to give all of us comfort as we confront this tragedy," he said.

Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) secretary general Abbas Gullet told Xinhua in Nairobi earlier that the rescue operation was still underway, and expressed fears that there would be more casualties since some of the shoppers were still holed up in the mall.

However, Kenya's interior ministry was not sure whether there were hostages inside the mall.

Somalia's militant group Al Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said in its Twitter account "HSM Press Office" that "the Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar inside their own turf".

"Since our last contact, the Mujahideen inside the mall confirmed to @HSM_Press that they killed over 100 Kenyan kuffar & battle is ongoing," the group said.

"HSM has on numerous occasions warned the Kenyan government that failure to remove its forces from Somalia would have severe consequences."

"The Kenyan government, however, turned a deaf ear to our repeated warnings and continued to massacre innocent Muslims in Somalia," the group said.

"By land, air and sea, #Kenyan forces invaded our Muslim country, killing hundreds of Muslims in the process and displacing thousands more," the group said.

"The attack at #WestgateMall is just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyans invaders," it added.

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