Kenyan security forces have killed the militants who stormed an upscale Nairobi hotel compound, taking at least 14 lives and forcing hundreds of others to make terrifying escapes, the government said Wednesday.
More than 700 civilians were evacuated from the Dusit D2 complex after a 20-hour siege that echoed a 2013 assault that killed 67 people in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping center in the same neighborhood.
Some people hid under desks as bullets shattered plate-glass doors. Others jumped from windows or ran out under fire.
“The security operation at Dusit complex is over, and all the terrorists eliminated,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told the nation, looking drained and grave.
“As of this moment, we can confirm that 14 innocent lives were lost through the hands of these murderous terrorists.”
Kenyatta did not specify how many assailants there were, but CCTV clips showed at least five dressed in black.
One is seen waiting outside the restaurant before blowing himself up in a cloud of debris just after 3 p.m. (1200 GMT). Four others then shoot assault rifles crossing the car park.
The attack was claimed by the Somali group al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate fighting an insurgency to topple the weak U.N.-backed government and impose strict Islamic law.
Airstrikes against the group have stepped up under President Trump, but Tuesday’s attack showed the group retains the ability to strike outside Somalia’s borders.
Neighboring Kenya, a hub for expatriates, became a frequent target for al-Shabab after sending troops into Somalia to try to create a buffer zone along the long, porous border. (Reuters)
Kenyan Red Cross workers help a woman at the Chiromo Mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya, after she learned of a family member killed during the terrorist attack on Jan. 15, 2019, (Photo: Brian Inganga/AP)