Nairobi [Kenya]: At least 11 people lost their lives in a series of powerful blasts and exchange of gunfire by terrorists that took place at a luxurious hotel complex here on Tuesday, a source said.
A Kenyan government official was quoted by CNN saying that security forces secured the complex where the attack took place.
“The security teams have evacuated scores of Kenyans and other nationalities from the (hotel and office) buildings. We are now in the final stages of mopping up the area and securing evidence and documenting the consequences of these unfortunate events,” Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said in a statement.
The source, who confirmed the death toll, termed it as “conservative” and said that the number is expected to rise. “I saw six dead on the footpath exit over the river and five more at the secret garden cafe,” the source was quoted by CNN as saying.
The attack first took place at a bank inside the hotel complex, where three vehicles were targetted in a blast in the parking lot. It was followed by another suicide explosion in the entrance hall of the hotel, where people sustained serious injuries, according to Joseph Boinnet, inspector general of Kenya’s national police service.
Police and the gunmen were engaged in heavy gunfire, which also saw several people running for their lives at the complex. Security forces escorted the office workers and the injured to safety.
Later, Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based terror group, claimed responsibility for the attack, as per the SITE Intelligence Group.
Meanwhile, officials said that the number of people who were wounded in the suicide attack has not been confirmed yet.
Nairobi saw a similar attack back in 2013, when four Al-Shabaab terrorists stormed the Westgate mall, killing 67 people inside the shopping complex and injuring more than 200.
The terror group frequently carries out suicide attacks in Somalia and parts of East Africa, including Kenya.