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Kenya says all gunmen killed in hotel attack; 14 victims

Civilians flee as security forces aim their weapons at the buildings of a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya on Jan 15. (Inset): In this grab taken from security camera footage released to the local media, an armed attacker walks in the compound of a hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday. Extremists launched an attack on a luxury hotel in Kenya’s capital, sending people fleeing in panic as explosions and heavy gunfire reverberate through the neighborhood. (AP)

Kenya’s security forces have killed the Islamic extremist gunmen whose assault on a luxury hotel and shopping complex took 14 “innocent lives,” the country’s president said Wednesday. “All the terrorists have been eliminated,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in announcing an end to the overnight operation to secure the complex in the capital, Nairobi.

In a televised address, Kenyatta did not say how many attackers were involved. He said more than 700 people were evacuated during the security operation and urged Kenyans to “go back to work without fear,” saying the East African country is safe.

Sporadic gunfire could be heard while scores of people were rescued at daybreak during what police called a “mopping-up” exercise. A new blast was heard in the afternoon as witnesses said security forces were making a sweep of the complex for any explosives.

Surveillance video showed the attack that began Tuesday afternoon involved at least four armed men. Al-Shebab – the extremist group allied to al-Qaeda and based in neighboring Somalia – claimed responsibility for the carnage at the DusitD2 hotel complex, which includes bars, restaurants, offices and banks and is in Nairobi’s well-to-do Westlands neighborhood with many foreign expatriates.

Al-Shebab carried out the 2013 attack at the nearby Westgate Mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people. The US State Department confirmed that an American citizen was among the dead, and the company I-DEV International confirmed that its co-founder, Jason Spindler, had been killed. The British high commissioner in Kenya said at least one British national had been killed, without giving details.

Kenyan authorities sent special forces into the hotel to flush out the gunmen. Scores of people were rushed to safety in the early morning hours as explosions and gunfire continued. “To God be the Glory. We have been rescued. Over 50 people in my group. No injuries,” tweeted a Kenyan businesswoman, Aggie Asiimwe Konde. (AP)

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