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Nairobi Westgate attack: Fresh gunfire inside complex
From: BBC          Published On: September 23, 2013, 07:58 GMT
 
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Nairobi Westgate attack: Fresh gunfire inside complex

Heavy gunfire and explosions have been heard at the 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 Mr Ruto would be excused for a week to return to Nairobi to help deal with the crisis.

'Speedy conclusion'

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge, in Kenya's capital, says that the battle to end the long stand-off is continuing in earnest as conditions for those trapped inside the complex deteriorate.

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

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".

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 told the BBC that Kenyan forces were receiving foreign assistance, namely from Americans and Israelis.

'More bodies'

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

Earlier, defence 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.


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