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Al-Shabab gunmen have attacked the Naso-Hablod hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu taking hostages and killing at least seven people, health workers say.

The Somali army is attempting to retake the hotel after militants detonated a car bomb and stormed it, police said.

Reports said the victims included three security guards.

Al-Shabab militants frequently carry out attacks in the city in their bid to topple the Western-backed government.

The al-Qaeda-linked group said it targeted the hotel which was “frequented by the apostate government members”, Reuters news agency reported.

The Naso-Hablod, in southern Mogadishu, is often used by politicians and tourists.

It is not known how many attackers entered the hotel nor how many guests were inside.Naso Hablod attack Mogadishu

A witness told the Associated Press news agency the gunmen shot randomly at guests.

At least 10 other people have been wounded.

Earlier this month at least 10 people were killed and 50 injured in an attack on another hotel in Mogadishu, which was claimed by al-Shabab.

The group was driven from Mogadishu in 2011 but still remains a threat and frequently carries out attacks in the city.

The Somali government, with the help of African Union forces, is fighting al-Shabab militants in several parts of the country.

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A new propaganda video released by the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab features Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

The video shows Donald Trump’s recent call for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States.

It also shows al-Shabab – al-Qaeda’s East African affiliate – urging African-Americans to convert to Islam and to take part in holy war.

The video says racism, police brutality and anti-Muslim sentiment are rife in the US.


Donald Trump’s campaign team has not responded to the video.

In recent years, several Somali-Americans from Minnesota have gone to fight for al-Shabab in Somalia.Donald Trump in al Shabab propaganda video

Donald Trump is shown 10 minutes into the 51-minute film making his December call for the US to bar all Muslims, in the wake of deadly San Bernardino shootings on December 2.

He said a “total and complete” shutdown should remain until the US authorities could “figure out” Muslim attitudes to the US. His comments were widely condemned in the US at the time.

Recently, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that, with his rhetoric, Donald Trump was becoming ISIS’ “best recruiter”.

Donald Trump’s statement is shown between two clips of militant leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

The video was distributed on Twitter on January 1 by the al-Kataib media foundation, an Islamist militant organization, intelligence agency SITE Monitoring reported.

Al-Shabab, which seeks to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government and impose a strict version of Sharia, has carried out attacks in Kenya and Ethiopia.

At least 15 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suicide attack claimed by al-Shabab on a hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, officials say.

A car bomb exploded at the main gate of the Sahafi Hotel early on November 1, with attackers then storming the hotel as they exchanged gunfire with security guards, police say.

A suicide bomber detonated a second set of explosives inside the hotel.

African Union troops and government forces say they have regained control of the hotel after a fierce gun battle.

The Sahafi Hotel is popular with Somalia’s members of parliament.

A website associated with al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying that fighters from the al-Qaeda linked group had infiltrated the hotel after an explosion.Mogadishu Sahafi Hotel attack

Those killed in the attack included parliamentarian Mohamed Abdi Abtidoon and a freelance photographer.

Several prominent people were among the injured, including a journalist and a local businessman.

Medical sources confirmed that a top Somali military commander, General Gacma Duule, and Somalia’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Abdisalam Haji Adam, were also injured.

The attack comes a day after deadly clashes between jihadist fighters and African Union (AU) troops in the Bakool region near the border with Ethiopia.

The AU is helping the government battle al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda.

Security in Somalia has improved, but al-Shabab still attacks Mogadishu regularly.

The militants have also targeted neighboring countries, killing almost 150 people in an assault on Garissa University College in Kenya in April.

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Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, in which 67 people were killed in a 2013 attack by al-Shabab militants, has reopened.

Armed al-Shabab militants entered the mall in September 2013 and fired on shoppers, leading to a siege over four days.

About half the shops are opening again after an extensive refurbishment.

The reopening comes a week before President Barack Obama visits Nairobi – a sign, the city’s governor said, that the capital was safe.

“Exactly 22 months ago we had one of the saddest days in Kenyan history,” Governor Evans Kidero said.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

“As a nation we cried, we mourned, but Westgate is back.”

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack in response to Kenya’s military operations in Somalia.

CCTV footage showing terrified shoppers fleeing the gunmen and cowering behind counters. Many were shot as the attackers walked down the aisles of a supermarket.

All four gunmen are believed to have died during the assault.

Parts of the mall were badly damaged by fire and remained off-limits as journalists toured the building earlier in the week. It is not clear if those sections are reopening.

Since the Westgate siege, al-Shabab has launched a number of high-profile attacks, including one on a university in Garissa, north-east Kenya, in which close to 150 people died in April.

Earlier this week, the State Department issued a travel warning to US citizens that extremists could target a summit in Nairobi in late July, which will be attended by Barack Obama.

Kenyan fighter jets have targeted al-Shabab camps in neighboring Somalia in response to Garissa University attack.

The warplanes had bombed two camps in Gondodowe and Ismail, both in the Gedo region, used by al-Shabab to cross into Kenya, military sources say.

This is Kenya’s first response to an al-Shabab assault which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.Kenya Garissa massacre

President Uhuru Kenyatta had vowed to respond to the attack “in the severest way possible”.

Al-Shabab said the assault in Garissa, which is 120 miles from the Somali border, was revenge for Kenya sending troops into Somalia to fight alongside African Union peacekeepers against the group.

The Islamist group, which at one point controlled most of Somalia, has lost swaths of territory in recent years but diplomats have repeatedly warned this has not diminished its ability to stage guerrilla-style attacks at home and abroad.

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Kenya has declared three days of national mourning for the 148 victims of Garissa University attack by militant group al-Shabab.

Easter ceremonies will be held to remember those who died in Thursday’s attack on Garissa University campus, and flags are expected to fly at half-mast.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to respond to the attack “in the severest ways possible”.

Sunni Islam’s most respected seat of learning, Cairo’s al-Azhar University, has also condemned the attack.

The Kenyan Red Cross says that so far 54 of the victims have been identified by relatives at a morgue in the capital, Nairobi.

Buses are transporting more than 600 students and about 50 staff who survived the attacks to their hometowns.

Many survivors have been reunited with their families at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium which has been set up as a disaster centre.Kenya national mourning for Garissa University attack victims

Almost all of the 148 killed were students and another 79 people were injured.

Four gunmen were killed, and officials say they are holding five people for questioning – one of whom is believed to be a university security guard.

Both Christians and Muslims have denounced the attack. On April 5, Sunni Islam’s most respected seat of learning, Cairo’s al-Azhar University, said it condemned the “terrorist attack”.

Pope Francis is expected to use his traditional Easter Sunday message to describe the students as contemporary Christian martyrs.

In Kenya, people took the streets to protest the killings and reject the idea that al-Shabab had succeeded in dividing the country.

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Five suspects have been detained in Kenya over the al-Shabab attack on Garissa University campus on April 2 which left almost 150 people dead, officials say.

Some of the suspects were arrested while trying to flee to neighboring Somalia, the internal security ministry said.

At least 148 people – mostly students – were killed when gunmen attacked a university campus in Garissa.

Al-Shabab has since pledged a “long, gruesome war” against Kenya.

The militant group said its attacks were in retaliation for acts by Kenya’s security forces, which are part of the African Union’s mission in Somalia against al-Shabab.

Photo AP

Photo AP

In Garissa, a survivor has emerged from hiding more than two days after the assault was unleashed.

The 19-year-old girl was found unhurt in a cupboard on April 4, but security officials had to bring in a teacher to convince her that it was safe to come out.

She told reporters that she drank body lotion when she felt hungry.

Four other people were found alive on the campus on April 3, including two suspects. One was said to be a Tanzanian national with no known links to the university.

While many of the survivors spoke to the media, little is known so far about those who were killed.

Their bodies have been flown to Nairobi for identification, as local mortuaries have been unable to cope, and many of the students killed came from other parts of Kenya.

There has been criticism in Garissa, which is 100 miles from the Somali border, at how the security services dealt with the attack.

Only two guards were on duty at the time of the assault, despite official warnings that an attack on an institution of higher learning was likely.

One survivor said the students had raised security issues late last year. Another said the gunmen appeared to know the site well.

In an address to the nation after the attack, President Uhuru Kenyatta said he had instructed the police chief to speed up the training of 10,000 recruits, because Kenya had “suffered unnecessarily” because of a shortage of security personnel.

Police in neighboring Uganda say they have received information suggesting a similar attack is being planned there.

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At least 147 people have been killed in an attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on Garissa University campus in north-eastern Kenya, Kenyan government officials say.

The operation to secure the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed, they added.

Officials said 587 students had been evacuated, 79 of whom were injured.

An overnight curfew is being implemented in parts of Kenya.

Four counties near the Kenya-Somalia border, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Tana River, would have dusk-to-dawn curfews imposed, disaster management officials said.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Nine critically injured students were airlifted to the capital Nairobi for treatment, they added.

Each student had been accounted for by the end of the evacuation.

Masked gunmen stormed the university early on Thursday morning and took hostages.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he called a “terrorist attack” and said the UN was ready to help Kenya “prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism”.

The US said it was offering Nairobi assistance to take on al-Shabab and would continue to work with others in the region to take on the group.

The Kenyan government has named Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking al-Shabab official, as the mastermind of the attack.

Mohamed Kuno was headmaster at an Islamic school in Garissa before he quit in 2007.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta offered his condolences to families of the victims and ordered “urgent steps” to ensure police recruits could begin training immediately.

“We have suffered unnecessarily due to shortage of security personnel,” Uhuru Kenyatta said.

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Masked gunmen have stormed Kenya’s Garissa University College near the Somali border, killing at least two people and injuring about 30.

Troops have surrounded the university and are engaging the attackers.

Witnesses spoke of the gunmen firing indiscriminately and there are fears the casualty toll could rise.

It is not clear who is behind the attack, but Somali al-Shabab militants have regularly targeted Kenya.

Garissa and other border areas have been regularly attacked.

Some five masked gunmen are said to have stormed the university. There are reports that hostages have been taken.

Kenyan police said the gunmen shot guards at the main gate at about 05:30 local time.Somali al-Shabab militants suspected to be involved in Garissa University attack in Kenya

Nearby policemen then engaged in a fierce exchange of fire and the gunmen escaped into the university buildings.

Security forces were now trying to “flush them out”, a police statement said. It urged people to stay away from the area.

Two guards were confirmed killed at the main university gate, with two policemen and a student among the injured. But eyewitnesses spoke of many casualties inside the building.

The gunmen reportedly ordered students to lie down on the floor, but at least 27 are known to have escaped and are at a military facility.

Kenyan Red Cross spokeswoman Arnolda Shiundu said there were about 30 casualties, four of whom were critical.

Three people – two soldiers and a civilian – had been airlifted to the capital, Nairobi, Arnolda Shiundu said.

The university opened in 2011 and is the only place of higher education in the region. It has some 900 students, 700 of them from other parts of Kenya.

Garissa, 90 miles from the border with Somalia, has a large population of Kenyan Somalis.

Al-Shabab has carried out a number of attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan troops were sent to Somalia to help fight the militant group there.

The deadliest attack targeted the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in September 2013, when 67 people were killed.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia and is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and Western Europe.

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US Homeland Security has urged Americans to be vigilant following a terror threat to Western shopping centers, including Mall of America.

Secretary Jeh Johnson said he took the threat by the Somali-based group al-Shabab seriously.

In a video, al-Shabab urged followers to carry out attacks on shopping centers in the US, Canada and the UK.

Al-Shabab was responsible for the 2013 attack on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people.

Jeh Johnson told CNN that the threat was part of “a new phase” of terrorism in which attacks would increasingly come from “independent actors in their homelands”.

“Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously,” he said.

In the video, a man with a British-sounding accent and full face covering calls on supporters of al-Shabab to attack “American or Jewish-owned” Western shopping centers.

He specifically mentions Minnesota’s Mall of America – the second-largest US shopping centre – and Canada’s West Edmonton Mall, as well as London’s Oxford Street and the UK capital’s two Westfield shopping centers.

Co-ordinates for the various targets were listed on the screen as they were described.

Both Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall have issued statements saying they were implementing additional security measures.

Minnesota is home to a large Somali population and a Minnesota man was indicted last week on charges of conspiring to support Islamic State (ISIS).

Police and security services in Canada, France and Denmark have been on high alert recently following attacks by so-called “home-grown” terrorists inspired by groups such as al-Shabab and ISIS.

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Thirty six people, mostly Christian quarry workers, have been killed by al-Shabab militants near the north Kenyan town of Mandera.

The attackers from the Somalia-based Islamist militant group separated Muslims from non-Muslims and shot the Christians dead, residents said.

Earlier, one person was killed in a bar popular with non-Muslims in a neighboring district.

Al-Shabab killed 28 people in an attack on a bus targeting non-Muslims in the same area last week.

The attack on the quarry workers took place early on December 2. Witnesses said the victims were caught after midnight, while sleeping in their tents at the quarry.Al Shabab Kenya

The attack took place in Kormey, 9 miles from Mandera town.

Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack.

Kenya’s Red Cross said on its Twitter feed that security personnel and one of its own teams were on the ground at the site of the attack.

In the attack on a bar in the town of Wajir earlier on Monday night, gunmen reportedly opened fire and hurled grenades, killing one and injuring 12.

Mandera County borders both Somalia and Ethiopia, and it is dominated by Somalis, who are largely Muslims.

Many of the quarry workers killed are reported to have come from the south of the country where Christians predominate.

Al-Shabab has stepped up its campaign in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops across the border to help battle the militants.

Al-Shabab militants have confirmed that they have attacked a bus in northern Kenya, killing 28 people.

The bus was travelling to Nairobi when it was stopped in Mandera county, not far from the Somali border.

The Somali gunmen separated out non-Muslims by asking passengers to read from the Koran, officials and witnesses said. Those who failed were then shot in the head.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011.

A statement on a website linked to the Islamist group carried a statement saying the attack was carried out in retaliation for security raids on mosques in the coastal city of Mombasa earlier this week.

Kenyan interior ministry said on its Twitter feed that a camp belonging to the attackers had been destroyed by Kenyan military helicopters and jets, with “many killed”.

More than 60 passengers were on the bus when it was attacked, before dawn on November 22, about 19 miles from Mandera town.

The driver tried to accelerate away, but the vehicle became stuck in mud caused by recent heavy rains.

About 10 heavily armed men talking Somali ordered the passengers off the bus.

Kenya’s Red Cross said emergency workers were trying to retrieve bodies from the scene.

Security agencies were “in pursuit of the criminal gang” that carried out the attack, the interior ministry said. It described the assailants as “bandits”.

A local official quoted by Kenyan media said the government had failed to answer their pleas for extra security.

The attack comes after a week of heightened tension in Mombasa, which has suffered a series of al-Shabab attacks.

Security forces raided mosques in the city, saying they were being used to store weapons. The raids triggered apparent revenge attacks by Muslim youths.

Kenya has experience a series of al-Shabab attacks since it sent troops to Somalia three years ago to help fight the militant group.

Mandera, a remote area in Kenya’s north-east that shares a long and porous border with Somalia, has been one of the regions worst-affected by the violence.

On the Somali side of the border, al-Shabab is said to have a base that was recently bombed by Kenyan warplanes. It was not immediately clear whether this was the same base targeted by Kenya following Saturday’s attack.

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Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, was killed following a US attack earlier this week, the Pentagon has confirmed.

The US carried out air strikes on Monday night targeting a convoy in which he was travelling.

“Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al-Shabab,” the Pentagon press secretary said in a statement.

Ahmed Abdi Godane was one of the US state department’s most wanted men.

Leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed following a US attack earlier this week

Leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed following a US attack earlier this week

It had placed a bounty of $7 million on his head.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said the military action on September 1 had “led to his death”.

The US has supported the African Union (AU) force that has driven al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other towns since 2011.

The al-Qaeda-linked fighters want to overthrow the UN-backed Somali government and frequently attack government targets as well as neighboring countries that provide troops to the AU force.

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A Muslim woman has been killed by militant Islamists in Somalia for refusing to wear a veil, her relatives say.

Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group, they say.

The militants had ordered her to put on a veil, and then killed her after returning and finding she was still not wearing one, the relatives said.

Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group

Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group

An al-Shabab spokesman denied the group had killed the woman.

Al-Shabab does not fully control the area where she was living, he added

Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed at about 07:30.

She was shot twice and died instantly, they added.

Ruqiya Farah Yarow is survived by her husband and children, the relatives said.

Al-Shabab, which controls much of southern and central Somalia, imposes strict rules of behaviour, including dress codes for men and women.

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya’s coastal district of Lamu, the scene of several attacks claimed by Islamic militants this year.

Houses have been set alight in Hindi, near Mpeketoni, and a police station has been attacked at Gamba.

According to the Kenyan Red Cross, 13 people had been killed in the two incidents.

The Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab has previously mounted a number of attacks in the region.

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya's coastal district of Lamu

Two deadly shootings have been reported in Kenya’s coastal district of Lamu

However, it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the latest shooting.

Witnesses said about a dozen armed men had appeared in the trading centre in Hindi, Lamu County, late on Saturday evening and opened fire.

“They went around shooting at people and villages indiscriminately,” area chief Abdallah Shahasi told Reuters.

County commissioner Miiri Njenga told the agency some government offices and properties had been burned down.

The Red Cross said another nine people – eight civilians and one police officer – were killed in Gamba, and one person was also missing.

There were few further details of the attacks – the Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said confirmed the violence and said on Twitter that it was responding.

Attacks in the Lamu area early last month killed at least 60 people, as gunmen descended on hotels and a police station.

The area includes Lamu island, a well-known tourist resort, however, the attacks happened on the mainland, in Lamu County.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has blamed the attacks on political networks, despite al-Shabab claiming responsibility.

At least 15 people have been killed in a new attack by Somalia’s Islamist militants near Mpeketoni in Kenya.

Local police say the gunmen raided two villages overnight.

Somalia’s al-Shabab group said it had carried out the attack, telling Reuters that its “operations in Kenya will continue”.

At least 48 people died after the al-Qaeda-linked group attacked hotels and a police station in the town on Sunday.

Al-Shabab said it was revenge for the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia and the killing of Muslims.

Somalia's al-Shabab group has claimed the recent attacks on Kenyan town of Mpeketoni

Somalia’s al-Shabab group has claimed the recent attacks on Kenyan town of Mpeketoni

Kenya sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to help the weak UN-backed government defeat the militants.

“We raided villages around Mpeketoni again last night,” al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters on Tuesday.

He was later quoted by the AFP as saying that the militants “have been going to several places looking for military personnel”. He said most of those killed were police officers and wildlife wardens.

Kenyan police said that the gunmen raided two villages in the Poromoko district near Mpeketoni.

The authorities said the militants jammed a telecommunication system before the killings to prevent villagers from sounding the alarm.

In Sunday’s attack, al-Shabab appeared to target men, in many cases leaving their wives and children unharmed.

Mpeketoni, near Lamu Island, is not a tourist resort. It appears the attackers were not interested in foreigners or their interests, our correspondent says.

After last year’s Westgate attack in Nairobi – al-Shabab’s most deadly raid in Kenya – the group received a lot of criticism for killing women and children.

Kenya has been on high alert recently following warnings that al-Shabab was planning more attacks.

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Two explosions have killed three people and wounded several others in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa, police say.

In the deadliest attack, a grenade was reportedly thrown in a bus that had just arrived from Nairobi.

The other blast happened at a bar near a hotel in the Nyali beach area. There are no reports of casualties there.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants

Kenya has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed by the government on Somali Islamist militants (photo EMPICS)

The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab has carried out several attacks in Kenya since 2011, when Kenya sent troops into Somalia to battle it.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blasts.

The first blast is believed to have occurred after a grenade was thrown in a Nairobi-Mombasa bus that had just arrived in the busy Mwembe Tayari transport terminal, killing three people and wounding at least four others.

The second explosion took place at a beach bar near the Nayali Reef Hotel, after a device was left in a plastic bag in the washroom.

It is thought that a third attack was planned for a nearby cinema complex but was unsuccessful.

All three incidents happened within minutes of each other.

Tensions have been rising in Mombasa in recent months, with authorities accusing Islamists of radicalizing local youths.

Al-Shabab was blamed for an attack on a church in Mombasa in March that killed six people.

Shortly afterwards, a radical Muslim cleric alleged to have acted as a recruiter for al-Shabab was shot dead near Mombasa, prompting riots in the city.

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Somalia’s presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu has been attack by a huge car bomb.

The bomb has blown a hole in the wall of the presidential palace, followed by a fierce gun battle inside, officials say.

It is not clear how many people died in the attack.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has told the UN envoy to Somalia he was not harmed, envoy Nick Kay has tweeted.

The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack, which it said was still ongoing.

This is the first time that al-Shabab fighters have entered the presidential palace, known as Villa Somalia.

The heavily guarded complex is home to the president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, other ministers and a mosque, which was hit during the attack.

Villa Somalia, a heavily guarded complex, is home to the president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, other ministers and a mosque

Villa Somalia, a heavily guarded complex, is home to the president, prime minister, speaker of parliament, other ministers and a mosque

Some of the attackers were wearing suicide vests, police sources have said.

Senior police officer Abdikadir Ahmed told the Reuters news agency fighting was underway in the house of a military commander within the presidential compound, near the palace.

“The car bomb hit and exploded and other al-Shabab cars with armed men drove inside the palace, and heavy fighting is still going on,” he said.

Security Minister Abdi Karim Hussein said that some of the attackers had been killed and others captured. He also said all of the country’s leaders were safe.

Al-Shabab military spokesman Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Musab said militants were still in control of some buildings inside the presidential compound.

“Our commandos have attacked the so-called presidential palace in order to kill or arrest those who are inside,” he told the AFP news agency.

Nick Kay said the attack on Villa Somalia had “failed”.

“Sadly some lives lost. I condemn strongly this terrorism,” he said.

Al-Shabab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 but it still controls many smaller towns and rural areas of the country.

Some 22,000 African Union troops are helping the government battle al-Shabab

Interpol has issued a wanted persons notice for Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the “White Widow”, at Kenya’s request.

Samantha Lewthwaite, 29, is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the four suicide bombers who attacked London on July 7th, 2005.

She has been linked with Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

Interpol did not link the warrant to Nairobi’s Westgate mall attack that left at least 67 dead.

However, it comes after much speculation linking Samantha Lewthwaite to events there.

Al-Shabab was behind the attack and subsequent four-day siege at the Westgate shopping complex in the Kenyan capital.

An Interpol statement said Samantha Lewthwaite was “wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011”.

The Interpol alert, known as a “Red Notice”, requires member countries to detain the suspect pending extradition procedures.

Interpol has issued a wanted persons notice for Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the “White Widow”, at Kenya's request

Interpol has issued a wanted persons notice for Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the “White Widow”, at Kenya’s request

Samantha Lewthwaite – who is believed to use the alias “Natalie Webb” – had previously only been wanted for the alleged possession of a fraudulently obtained South African passport.

She is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the four bombers involved in the July 7 terror attacks in London in 2005 in which 52 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

Interpol’s red notice acts like a global wanted poster, but it’s also a concession by the Kenyan security forces that she is an international danger, not just someone who should be regarded as a passport fraudster.

Kenya is continuing three days of official mourning for the civilian and military victims of the siege.

The funeral of pregnant television and radio star Ruhila Adatia-Sood was one of many being held on Thursday.

Flags are flying at half mast amid visibly tighter security around the Kenyan capital. Security guards were scanning passengers with metal detectors before they boarded buses.

Kenyan investigators have been joined by experts from the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Interpol to comb the sprawling shopping complex for DNA, fingerprints and ballistic clues.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab has said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately at shoppers and staff.

Twitter posts on an al-Shabab account said the group’s militants had held 137 people hostage, and claimed the hostages had died after security forces fired chemical agents to end the siege.

A government spokesman denied any chemical agents were used, and authorities called on Kenyans to ignore militant propaganda.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

About 4,000 Kenyan troops have been serving in the south of Somalia since October 2011 as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

The group is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.

Al-Shabab members are fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

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Kenya has declared three days of national mourning following the end of the four-day siege by Islamist militants on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said 67 people died, including six security personnel.

Five militants were killed and 11 suspects arrested, he said.

Islamist group al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said 137 hostages had died. But the statement cannot be verified.

As the clearing of the mall continues, the death toll is expected to rise.

Several bodies, including those of some attackers, are thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed following a blaze.

Kenya’s Standard newspaper reported that tens of bodies were removed from the building on Tuesday evening.

Correspondents say the shopping centre lay largely silent overnight and light smoke was still drifting from the building.

Journalists and onlookers were kept behind a security cordon but police let some people retrieve cars from the scene.

In his address, President Uhuru Kenyatta praised the response of ordinary Kenyans, calling it exemplary and overwhelming.

Kenya has declared three days of national mourning following the end of the four-day siege on Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre

Kenya has declared three days of national mourning following the end of the four-day siege on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre

“We have ashamed and defeated our attackers,” he said.

“Kenya has stared down evil and triumphed.”

He did not confirm earlier reports that several of the attackers were American and British.

“Intelligence reports had suggested that a British woman and two or three American citizens may have been involved in the attack,” said Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We cannot confirm the details at present. Forensic experts are working to ascertain the nationalities of the terrorists.”

He added: “These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are.”

According to the UK Foreign Office, one British national had been arrested in Nairobi, without giving further details.

One of the people arrested is understood to have been in the shopping centre, though it is not clear whether they were armed, or among the 10-15 attackers that Kenyan authorities have spoken of.

At least 18 foreigners are among the dead. About 175 people were wounded, including 62 who remain in hospital.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately on shoppers and staff.

Twitter posts from al-Shabab on Wednesday said it had held 137 people hostage, and claiming they died at the hands of the security forces at the end of stand-off.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the four-day siege involving suspected Islamist militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre is over.

Five attackers were shot dead by troops and 11 suspects were in custody, he said in a TV address to the nation.

Kenya has “shamed and defeated our attackers” but the “losses are immense”, Uhuru Kenyatta said, confirming that 61 civilians and six soldiers had died.

Three days of national mourning have been declared, starting on Wednesday.

Uhuru Kenyatta said that several bodies – including those of “terrorists” – were thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed following a blaze on Monday.

Some 175 people were injured in the attack; 62 people remain in hospital and many others are being treated for shock and are undergoing counseling.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the four-day siege involving suspected Islamist militants at Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre is over

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that the four-day siege involving suspected Islamist militants at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre is over

“I promise that we shall have a full accountability for the mindless destruction, deaths, pain, loss and suffering we have all undergone as a national family.

“These cowards will meet justice, as will their accomplices and patrons, wherever they are,” he said.

At least 18 foreigners are among the dead, citizens from France, UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Peru, India, Ghana, South Africa and China.

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing on shoppers and staff.

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

Uhuru Kenyatta said he could not confirm reports that a British national and two or three US citizens were involved in the attacks, but he said forensic experts were carrying out tests to ascertain their nationalities.

In an interview with the US TV programme PBS Newshour, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said the Americans were 18 or 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin.

Her remarks have fuelled media speculation about the possible involvement of Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of one of the men who carried out attacks on London’s transport system on July 7th, 2005.

However, a Twitter post from al-Shabab on Tuesday evening dismissed claims that women were involved in the attack. The group said it “categorically” denied involvement of any woman”.

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Fresh gunfire and explosions have been heard at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi where militants are said to be holding a number of hostages.

Sixty-eight people have been killed and more than 170 injured since the attack began in Kenya’s capital on Saturday.

Between 10 and 15 attackers – thought to be militants from the Somali al-Shabab movement – are still inside the Westgate shopping centre.

Reporters at the scene said there had been heavy and rapid bursts of fire.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Monday morning it was adjourning the trial of Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto on charges relating to violence following elections in 2007.

The court said William Ruto would be excused for a week to return to Nairobi to help deal with the crisis.

The battle to end the long stand-off is continuing in earnest as conditions for those trapped inside the complex deteriorate.

An unnamed Kenyan security source told the AFP news agency that an army assault was underway.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said he heard about 15 minutes of fierce gunfire which then subsided.

A photographer accompanying the correspondent said troops deployed around the mall were forced to duck for cover.

The photographer said it “sounded as if the shots were coming from somewhere around the mall, or were being fired from a vantage point in the mall”.

Sixty-eight people have been killed and more than 170 injured since the attack began in Kenya's capital on Saturday

Sixty-eight people have been killed and more than 170 injured since the attack began in Kenya’s capital on Saturday

The defence forces said on Twitter several hours ago: “All efforts are under way to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion.”

Authorities have emphasised that it is a delicate operation as the safe rescue of the hostages is their top priority, says our correspondent.

Four soldiers had been injured in the attack by Sunday evening.

Kenyan military vehicles have been seen entering and leaving the area throughout Monday morning.

A Kenyan security official said that their forces were receiving foreign assistance, namely from Americans and Israelis.

Overnight reports said that the gunmen were holed up in a supermarket.

Earlier, defense spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna said only a small number of hostages were still being held and most had been rescued.

As troops continued to clear the building, it was possible they would come across more bodies, Col Oguna warned on Sunday.

In a news conference on Sunday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country was united and strong in adversity.

“The criminals are now located in one place within the building,” he said.

“With the professionals on site, we have as good a chance to neutralise the terrorists as we could hope for.”

Uhuru Kenyatta said his nephew and the man’s fiancée were among the dead.

President Barack Obama called President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday to express condolences and reiterate “US support for Kenya’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice”.

The wife of an American working for the US Agency for International Development was killed, US officials said.

Prominent Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor – who was attending a literary festival in Nairobi – also died, as did a Chinese woman.

French, Dutch, South African, Indian and Canadian nationals are also among the foreigners confirmed killed, along with a dual Australian-British national.

Thousands of Kenyans responded on Sunday to appeals for blood donations.

Al-Shabab says it carried out the attack in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

The group, which is part of the al-Qaeda network, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia, where they have been fighting the militants since 2011.

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An unknown number of hostages are still inside Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya, after a deadly assault by al-Shabab militants, officials say.

At least 39 people died when members of the Somali Islamist group stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday.

Officials say the gunmen have been cornered but that people are trapped in a number of locations.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier vowed to “hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to”.

Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack on the upmarket mall in response to Kenyan military operations in Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia, where they have been fighting the militants since 2011.

On its Twitter feed, al-Shabab – which has links to al-Qaeda – said it was behind what it called the “Westgate spectacle”.

Kenyan officials said “major operations” were under way with police and soldiers preparing an apparent bid to bring an end to the stand-off.

They said the security forces had finally “pinned down” the surviving gunmen.

“The work is continuing, but you cannot rush these things,” an army officer posted on the perimeter cordon set up around the mall told the AFP news agency.

“Our teams are there, we are watching and monitoring, we will finish this as soon as we can.”

The authorities have asked journalists to exercise caution when reporting military developments because the gunmen might be monitoring the media.

“Hostiles suspected to have access to the internet,” the Disaster Operation Centre in Nairobi posted on Twitter.

“Reports on personnel movement and progress will not be posted for fear of compromising strategy.”

An unknown number of hostages are still inside Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi

An unknown number of hostages are still inside Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi

The officials said the number of hostages was “still unknown, but they are in several locations”.

“The gunmen have been contained in one location, but there are hostages elsewhere in the vicinity who cannot access the exit.”

Upper levels of the mall had been secured, it said.

The attack began at about 12:00 local time, when the attackers entered the Westgate centre throwing grenades and firing automatic weapons. A children’s day event was being held at the time – children are among those reported killed.

Some witnesses said the militants told Muslims to leave and said non-Muslims would be targeted.

“They came and said: <<If you are Muslim, stand up. We’ve come to rescue you>>,” said Elijah Lamau.

He said the Muslims left with their hands up, and then the gunmen shot two people.

Scores of people fled or were evacuated while police and armed security guards fought running gun battles with the militants throughout the mall for hours.

As night fell in Nairobi, two contingents of army special forces troops were reported to have moved inside the mall.

Reports say at least one of the attackers was a woman who appeared to have some kind of leadership role.

One gunman was arrested and died of his wounds, Kenyan officials said. Four other gunmen were arrested.

In a televised address on Saturday evening, President Uhuru Kenyatta said security forces were “in the process of neutralizing the attackers and securing the mall”.

He went on: “We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run to. We shall get to them and we shall punish them for this heinous crime.”

He said he had “personally lost family members in the Westgate attack”.

Security experts are reported to have long warned that the complex, which is part Israeli-owned, was in danger of being subjected to a terror attack.

Al-Shabab says the African Union forces are invaders stopping their legitimate vision of creating an Islamic state and respond by mounting hit-and-run attacks.

The US State Department said it had reports that American citizens were injured in what it called “a senseless act of violence”.

Two French citizens and two Canadians, including a diplomat, are also among the dead.

Nairobi’s mortuary superintendent, Sammy Nyongesa Jacob, told Reuters that Africans, Asians and Caucasians were among the bodies brought to the mortuary.

This is one of the worst incidents in Kenya since the attack on the US embassy in August 1998.

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At least 22 people are reported to be dead and more than 50 injured as a gun battle continues between police and armed men at Westgate shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Dozens of shoppers fled; many are still feared trapped inside.

A senior police officer originally said it was an attempted robbery but later called it a possible terrorist attack.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab had threatened to strike the centre.

It is opposed to Kenya sending troops to fight in Somalia. No group has said it carried out Saturday’s attack.

Officers have now surrounded the building in an attempt to evacuate remaining shoppers. A military helicopter has landed nearby.

Police told AFP news agency that gunmen had taken at least seven people hostage. Eyewitnesses have also said there are hostages, but there is no official confirmation.

Dozens of people are reported to have been injured.

Eyewitnesses say masked attackers threw grenades into the building at about midday local time.

Nairobi police chief Benson Kibue initially said the gunmen had been trying to rob a shop, but later called it “a terrorist attack”.

At least 22 people are reported to be dead and more than 50 injured as a gun battle continues between police and armed men at Westgate shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi

At least 22 people are reported to be dead and more than 50 injured as a gun battle continues between police and armed men at Westgate shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi

At about 18:30, more than six hours after the attack began, the Kenyan Secretary for the Interior Joseph ole Lenku said the security situation was “under control”.

He urged the public “not to speculate” about the nature of the attack, and said most people had been evacuated.

There are reports one of the gunmen has been shot dead.

Some of the attackers were reportedly dressed in hijabs, and it is unclear whether they were men or women, our correspondent says.

One man who escaped had been hiding in a supermarket but told our correspondent his friends were still trapped inside the building.

Witnesses told news agencies the gunmen ordered Muslims to leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted.

The Kenyan authorities have asked media outlets to stop broadcasting from the scene, as the information may be aiding the attackers.

Security guards used shopping trolleys to wheel out several wounded children and at least one man, AP reports.

“The gunmen tried to fire at my head but missed. There are definitely many casualties,” Sudjar Singh, who works at the shopping centre, told AFP.

“I saw three of the attackers dressed in black and with covered faces and they were carrying heavy rifles,” said another witness.

AFP quoted witnesses as saying the gunmen were speaking Arabic or Somali and executed shoppers.

Armed police took cover behind vehicles outside.

“We have officers at the scene trying to get out the group shooting inside,” a police official told AFP news agency.

“Officers are approaching the situation with caution because there are innocent civilians inside,” he said.

The Westgate centre is often frequented by wealthy Kenyans and expatriates.

Police have urged residents to stay away from the area and told media outlets to stop live transmissions from the scene.

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Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a top Islamist in Somalia, has arrived in the capital Mogadishu amid reports of a split in the al-Shabab group.

He was flown from the northern town of Adado, escorted by government security forces, but it is unclear whether he has surrendered or defected.

The UN says he gave himself up to government allies after infighting but clan elders deny this.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys is considered a terrorist by the UN and the United States.

Regarded as the elder statesman of Somali Islamists, he has been on a US list of people “linked to terrorism” since shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

A new UN-backed government in Mogadishu is trying to regain control of the country from al-Shabab after more than 20 years of conflict.

Supported by some 18,000 African Union soldiers, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration is the first in more than two decades to be recognized by the US and the International Monetary Fund.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a top Islamist in Somalia, has arrived in the capital Mogadishu amid reports of a split in the al-Shabab group

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a top Islamist in Somalia, has arrived in the capital Mogadishu amid reports of a split in the al-Shabab group

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys was flown by plane from Adado, a town about 310 miles north of the capital.

“If he renounces violence, then we can start the discussion about the options available,” government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman told Reuters news agency, without describing the options.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys left al-Shabab territory after factions within the al-Qaeda linked group clashed last week – the first deadly infighting since it launched an insurgency in 2006.

Al-Shabab, which means “The Youth”, is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia – and despite being pushed out of key cities in the past two years still remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside.

It was as a radical offshoot of the now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which was led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and for much of that year controlled Mogadishu and many southern and central areas.

The exact cause of the al-Shabab split is not known, but there has been a long-running internal power struggle between its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and those seen as more moderate who oppose links with al-Qaeda, analysts say.

There are conflicting reports about the fate of the second-in-command – Ibrahim Afghan, the al-Shabab founder – following last week’s fighting.

Initially, sources said he had been captured and was in al-Shabab detention; subsequent reports in local media say he has been executed.

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