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Shooting at Kenyan Mall, At Least 20 Dead, Believed to Be Terrorist Attack

Gunmen burst into the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya and opened fire, killing at least 20 people in what officials are now describing as a terrorist attack.

Witnesses on the scene reported seeing gunmen throwing grenades and opening fire in the mall, which “was hosting a children’s day event.” One off-duty officer on the scene said there were four male attackers and one female, while another said the gunmen told all Muslims to leave so they would not be harmed in the ensuing gunfire.

Kenyan officials are saying this may well be a terrorist attack, but no specific group has been identified, though Reuters sheds some light on who might have been behind it.

The Somali militant group al Shabaab, which Kenya blames for shootings, bombings and grenade attacks against churches and the security forces, had threatened before to strike the Westgate mall, popular with the city’s expatriate community. The chain of attacks follows action by Kenyan forces against al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia two years ago.

There were also reports of hostages being taken by the gunmen.

Watch CNN’s report on the attack, as well as an interview with a witness, below:

UPDATE: A group is now claiming responsibility for the attack, according to multiple reports.

[photo via screengrab]

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