72°
Mostly sunny
FRI
 80°
 55°
SAT
 78°
 54°
SUN
 77°
 53°
MON
 75°
 52°
TUE
 79°
 53°

Last hours to vote for the Best of Sonoma County finalists! Don't miss out!

Hostages being held at Kenya mall where 68 killed

  • Kenya Defense forces personnel take their positions outside a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Kenya authorities said Islamic extremist attackers remain inside the upscale Kenyan shopping mall, holding an unknown number of hostages, after killing at least 39 and injuring 150 during Saturday's attack. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan's military said late Sunday it had rescued "most" of the remaining hostages held by al-Qaida-linked militants in an upscale Nairobi mall after launching a major operation to end a two-day standoff that had already killed 68 people.

The assault, which began shortly before sundown, came as two helicopters circled the mall, with one skimming very close to the roof. A loud explosion rang out, far larger than any previous grenade blast or gunfire volley.

Kenyan police said on Twitter that a "MAJOR" assault by had started to end the bloody siege.

"This will end tonight. Our forces will prevail. Kenyans are standing firm against aggression, and we will win," Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre said on Twitter.

Kenya Defence Forces later said it had rescued most hostages and had taken control of most of the mall. Officials did not immediately release the number of hostages rescued or the number that remained. Four Kenyan military personnel were wounded in the operation, the military said.

The assault came about 30 hours after 10 to 15 al-Shabab extremists stormed the mall Saturday from two sides, throwing grenades and firing on civilians.

Loud exchanges of gunfire emanated from inside the four-story upscale mall throughout Sunday. Kenyan troops were seen carrying in at least two rocket propelled grenades. Al-Shabab militants reacted angrily to the helicopters on Twitter and warned that the Kenyan military action was endangering hostages.

Kenyan officials said they would do their utmost to save hostages' lives, but no officials could say precisely how many hostages were inside. Kenya's Red Cross said in a statement citing police that 49 people had been reported missing. Officials did not make an explicit link but that number could give an indication of the number of people held captive.

Kenya's Red Cross said the death toll on Sunday rose to 68 after nine bodies were recovered in a joint rescue mission.

© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View