(NAIROBI, Kenya) — Kenyan forces have secured an upscale Nairobi shopping mall, killing three suspected terrorists and promising to “punish” any others they encounter, following a three-day hostage standoff with an al Qaeda-linked rebel group that has killed at least 62 people and injured 175, police said.
“We have taken control of all the floors,” Kenyan police said via an official Twitter account. “We’re not here to feed the attackers with pastries but to finish and punish.”
“We can confirm that three terrorists have been killed so far, a few others have suffered injuries,” police also tweeted.
Another 10 suspects were arrested and are undergoing questioning, police said.
Large plumes of black smoke were seen rising over the building and volleys of automatic gunfire could be heard as soldiers stormed the mall Monday afternoon local time.
Officials believe most of the hostages were removed from the building as forces went floor to floor searching for suspected terrorists associated with al-Shabab, an Islamist terror organization based in Somalia.
“[Kenya Defense Forces] has dominated all floors of Westgate Mall building. Troops are now concentrating on clearing the building,” police tweeted.
Eleven soldiers were injured in the attack and are being treated for injuries, according to authorities.
The official death toll rose overnight to 62, according to the Kenyan Red Cross, but the number could rise as more parts of the building are cleared.
“We urge Kenyans to keep away from West Gate as the security agencies do all that must be done to end the siege ASAP,” Kenyan police tweeted on Monday.
It is not clear how many people were being held captive.
“We urge all Kenyans to be patient. We are frayed & tired, but No, this is not the time to give up. All agencies are doing what must be done,” Kenya’s Ministry of Interior tweeted earlier Monday.
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