Update (Sept. 23): The Westgate Mall siege is almost over.
AsiaNews reports several al Shabaab terrorists committed suicide after holding non-Muslim hostages inside the mall for two days. But CNN reports the hostage situation has come to a close with a minimal number of militants still inside. Authorities had sealed off the mall exits to prevent escape.
David Kimaiyo, Inspector General of Kenya's police, tweeted this morning, "Our Multi-Agencies have gunned down 2 & injured several others. I commend the officers for their bravery & the public for its calmness. IG."
According to the Kenya Red Cross, the official death toll at the Westgate Mall is 62 and 175 people have been injured.
Al Shabaab, which has increasingly sought to punish neighboring Kenya for its military role in an African peacekeeping mission in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack, reports Reuters.
The Associated Press reports:
As the attack began shortly after noon Saturday, the al-Qaida-linked gunmen asked the victims they had cornered if they were Muslim: Those who answered yes were free to go, several witnesses said. The non-Muslims were not.
A witness toldThe Observer how he survived:
Covering the Christian name on his ID with his thumb he approached one of the attackers, whom he described as Somali, and showed them the plastic card. "They told me to go. Then an Indian man came forward and they said, 'What is the name of Muhammad's mother?' When he couldn't answer they just shot him."
CT recently reported how al Shabaab has been recruiting ex-Christians to attack Kenyan churches.