An American woman and a British man were among 14 people killed yesterday when terrorists stormed a hotel in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, armed with grenades, guns, and suicide bombs.
The four attackers are reported to have thrown grenades outside the hotel before entering the building and spraying guests with bullets. At least one of the attackers detonated a suicide belt killing himself in the hotel lobby, according to the Daily Mail.
The State Department confirmed that one American citizen was killed in the attack. They have not released further details at this time, but State Department officials did say that all their diplomatic staff was accounted for. British officials also confirmed the death of one unnamed British citizen, while Spanish diplomats said that one Spanish national was injured in the attack.
The siege in the hotel went on for many hours with conflicting reports emerging both about the ongoing situation and the number of casualties. But this morning, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that all four attackers had been killed and the security operation is now over.
The attack began at around 3 p.m. local time at the 14 Riverside Drive complex in Nairobi, which includes a large hotel known as DusitD2, banks, and offices.
The four attackers are reported to have thrown grenades at cars parked outside the hotel before entering the lobby, where one detonated a suicide device. As the remaining attackers stalked the building with guns, Kenyan special forces rushed to the scene and a stand-off began.
Around eight hours after the siege began, Interior Minister Fred Matian’i announced that it was over, saying “I would like to reiterate that the situation is under control and the country is safe.”
However, more gunfire was heard about an hour later and local media reported that some people were still trapped inside the building. Two hours later, there was yet more gunfire as rescuers tried to evacuate around 50 survivors.
The Somali Islamic terrorist group, al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Their spokesperson, Abdiasis Abu Musab said, “We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on. We shall give details later.”
The attack is not the first major terrorist incident in Kenya. In 2013, terrorists stormed the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people. Like that attack, this one appears to have been aimed at rich Kenyans and ex-pats living in Kenya.
In 2015, al-Shabaab also attacked Garissa University in Kenya, killing 147 people, mostly students.