- Security guards wheel out bodies in shopping trolleys from Westlands Shopping Centre
- Hostages are being held by at least five attackers still in building
- The army and special forces are helping police flush out the gunmen
- Upmarket mall is a favourite shopping spot for expats and wealthy Kenyans
- Police opened fire after gunmen launched attack at midday today
- Armed gang believed to have been terrorists, police say
- Kenya Red Cross says at least 22 dead though police not given exact toll
- Witness says attackers told shoppers non-Muslims were the targets
- Somali militant group al-Shabaab threatened to attack mall but no one yet claimed responsibility
Kenyan police and soldiers have pinned down the remaining gunmen who opened fire at a shopping centre earlier today, killing 22 and leaving at least 50 others injured.
A security source at the scene in the capital Nairobi confirmed moments ago the attackers have been isolated.
The source said: ‘The attackers have been isolated and are pinned down in an area on one of the floors – the rest of the mall seems to be secure.’
One witness claimed earlier today that the gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that only non-Muslims would be targeted when they opened fire at the upmarket mall of the Westlands district around midday.
At least two dozen people, wounded and dead, were wheeled out on stretchers and in shopping trolleys by security guards, while others were seen walking out of the building, clutching bloodied clothing around their injuries.
Locals and tourists who were out shopping on the sunny Saturday in Kenya ran screaming from the building and cars were left abandoned as attackers threw grenades and fired AK47s.
Over the course of an hour people streamed from the building, at least half a dozen covered in blood and clutching small children to them.
The Kenya Red Cross Society now says that 22 have been reported dead and at least 50 wounded.
At least nine people were carried out of the building bleeding from wounds to their limbs and two others were wheeled unconscious from the scene in shopping trolleys.
A young boy is believed to have been among those killed.
At a news conference, Internal Security Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo said ‘terrorists and threats have been present in Kenya for quite some time now’.
The army, including special forces, have now been drafted in to help police flush out the gunmen.
Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Guled said: ‘The casualties are many, and that’s only what we have on the outside. Inside there are even more casualties and shooting is still going on.’
There were unconfirmed reports of two large explosions, with several smaller explosions. Two people were reportedly injured on the road.
‘We have officers at the scene trying to get out the group shooting inside. They have not been located,’ a senior police official said.
‘Officers are approaching the situation with caution because there are innocent civilians inside,’ he said.
Armed police arrived on the scene nearly half an hour later and could be heard shouting ‘get out, get out’ as scores of shoppers fled the building.
Smoke billowed out of the entrance, which was believed to have been caused by the grenade attack.
Dutch embassy employee Rob Vandijk said he had been eating at a restaurant in the shopping mall when gunmen threw hand grenades inside the building.
People began to scream and drop to the ground, he said, as machine gun fire rang out across the busy mall.
Officials have not given the exact death toll as police and gunmen are continuing to exchange fire, but reporters said they had seen at least 15 bodies.
Police say that attackers are holding seven hostages in the building, and other people remain hidden inside.
‘I saw three of the attackers dressed in black and with covered faces and they were carrying heavy rifles,’ said another witness.
Kenyan soldiers were also deployed to take part in the operation to bring the shopping complex back under control.
Police helicopters circled over the building as sporadic gunfire could be heard more than two hours after the attack was launched.
Police cordoned off the roads surrounding the mall in central Nairobi’s Westlands neighborhood.
Manish Turohit, 18, who escaped after hiding in the parking garage for two hours, says he saw gunmen with AK-47s and vests with hand grenades on them inside the centre.
Police initially believed the attack was an attempt by about ten armed men to rob a shop.
But Elijah Kamau, a witness, told AP that the gunmen had announced that they were targeting non-Muslims as they began their attack at the centre.