Kenya police sources have confirmed that 15 people were killed during an attack on DusitD2, an upmarket hotel complex in Nairobi.
By Wednesday morning, security forces had secured the complex that includes a 101-room hotel, restaurant, office buildings and spa following the Tuesday afternoon attack claimed by Al-Shabaab Islamists.
According to sources, one attacker blew himself and other gunmen opened fire into the hotel before they were interrupted by security forces as civilians tried to flee the hotel premises while others were stuck inside. Among the dead also included an American citizen according to a State Department official.
Those who were trapped inside the hotel were finally freed just before fresh gunfire started again. The exchange continued until just before dawn with police officers reporting that the attackers could be neutralized after a long period without shooting.
According to the Kenyan police chief, the attackers at first targeted 3 cars outside in the hotel compound, which they exploded as well as suicide bombing that took place in the foyer of the hotel. The explosions and gunfire forced hundreds of people within the complex including office workers to barricade themselves while others tried to flee.
Shortly after the attack, a number of foreign forces who were heavily armed and believed to be from embassies around Nairobi were also sighted at the scene working together with the local security operatives
The footage from CCTV cameras that was broadcasted on television showed four gunmen dressed in black as they entered the hotel compound before they started firing.
Shortly after the attack, the Al-Qaeda-linked Somali group Al-Shabaab claimed that they were responsible for the incident. The group has repeatedly terrorized Kenya basically due to the country’s decision to send its army into Somalia as part of the AMISOM in 2011.
This has been Al-Shabaab’s second attack in Nairobi after the city’s Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013 that left at least 67 people dead. In April 2015, 148 people of which majority were students were killed in another Al-Shabaab attack at the university in the Eastern university of Garissa.
Following the attack, many establishments in Nairobi especially those associated with Westerners on Tuesday announced that they were closed for security reasons.
The statement released by Al-Shabaab indicated that the attack came to commemorate exactly three years after the group attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia in which they claim to have killed more than 200 Kenyan soldiers.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that a siege by the terrorists in Nairobi is over and that all the attackers have been eliminated as he addressed the public early on Wednesday.
“I can now confirm that, the security operation at Dusit is over and all terrorists have been eliminate”, said President Kenyatta.
“We will seek out every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act”, he added and vowed to pursue them “relentlessly’.
“We are a country governed by laws, rules and regulations. A country that embraces peaceful coexistence. I must also state that we are also a nation that never forgets those who hurt our children”.