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Islamic terrorists who have been barricaded in a Kenyan shopping mall today threatened to kill all their remaining hostages as special forces moved in to end the two day siege which has left 69 dead.Witnesses said they could hear explosions within the vast Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi and there were reports of gunfire in the streets outside.
This morning it emerged that a British man had lost his wife and daughter in the massacre while a prize winning architect, who had joint British and Australian nationality was also among the dead. Ross Langdon, 33, was killed alongside his heavily pregnant Dutch partner Elif Yavuz. The malaria specialist was just two weeks away from giving birth.
Kenyan troops have moved in to end the siege but spokesman for terror group Al Shabaab Ali Mohamud Rage said in a statement posted on an Islamist website that those held inside will ‘bear the brunt of any force’ used by soldiers against the militants. The statement read: ‘We authorise the mujahedeen inside the building to take actions against the prisoners as much as they are pressed. ‘We are telling Christians advancing onto the mujahedeen to have mercy for their prisoners who will bear the brunt of any force directed against the mujahedeen.’
The Al-Qaeda linked group claimed to be in contact with the fighters inside the mall and said the gunmen were battling both Kenyan and Israeli forces.
As the stand-off entered its third day, sustained bursts of rapid gunfire erupted at dawn and lasted 15 minutes, and soldiers posted around the complex ducked for cover.This was followed by three big explosions, AFP correspondents at the scene said.
The Shebab have not said how many people were being held by the dozen-or-so attackers, who marched into the Israeli-owned four-storey complex at midday Saturday, spraying shoppers with machine gunfire and tossing grenades.One security officer said within half-an-hour of the attack the mall had been turned into ‘an abattoir’.
At least 69 people have been killed so far – including three Britons – and 175 people have been left injured.