Nairobi ‘terror attack’ at Kenyan hotel amid explosions and gunfire

An upscale complex in Kenya’s capital is under attack by terrorists who have set off multiple explosions and opened fire on civilians. 

Survivors are running for their lives, vehicles are on fire and victims are being carried on stretchers from the scene. One witness said he saw at least two bodies inside the complex.

‘It is terrible. What I have seen is terrible. I have seen a human as I ran out and there is what looks like minced meat all over,’ said Charles Njenga, who fled the scene. 

‘I have been hiding. My colleagues were running everywhere,’ said another man. He said he hid in an office. ‘I didn’t see an attacker. It was a terrorist attack. I think so.’ 

The Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed that it was ‘behind the attack’ at the complex – which includes a large hotel known as DusitD2, banks and offices.

A woman is carried out of the hotel and office complex on a stretcher where Al Shabaab Islamists let off explosions

A woman is carried out of the hotel and office complex on a stretcher where Al Shabaab Islamists let off explosions

A woman is carried out of the hotel and office complex on a stretcher where Al Shabaab Islamists let off explosions

Survivors duck down to avoid being shot and cling to the person in front as they are led out of the complex in single file

Survivors duck down to avoid being shot and cling to the person in front as they are led out of the complex in single file

Survivors duck down to avoid being shot and cling to the person in front as they are led out of the complex in single file

A shell-shocked woman is evacuated form the Dusit Hotel by hotel staff and security guards who try to calm her down

A shell-shocked woman is evacuated form the Dusit Hotel by hotel staff and security guards who try to calm her down

A shell-shocked woman is evacuated form the Dusit Hotel by hotel staff and security guards who try to calm her down

Paramedics come to the aid of an injured woman who has collapsed on the road after fleeing the scene of the terror attack

Paramedics come to the aid of an injured woman who has collapsed on the road after fleeing the scene of the terror attack

Paramedics come to the aid of an injured woman who has collapsed on the road after fleeing the scene of the terror attack

Security forces armed with assault rifles stand guard and help evacuate people at the scene in Nairobi

Security forces armed with assault rifles stand guard and help evacuate people at the scene in Nairobi

Security forces armed with assault rifles stand guard and help evacuate people at the scene in Nairobi

Survivors run for their lives in the street as a gunfight ensued between al Shabaab terrorists and Kenyan security guards 

Survivors run for their lives in the street as a gunfight ensued between al Shabaab terrorists and Kenyan security guards 

Survivors run for their lives in the street as a gunfight ensued between al Shabaab terrorists and Kenyan security guards 

Women flee with a look of panic on their faces as gunshots can be heard whizzing by in the hotels behind them

Women flee with a look of panic on their faces as gunshots can be heard whizzing by in the hotels behind them

Women flee with a look of panic on their faces as gunshots can be heard whizzing by in the hotels behind them

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene in the Kenyan capital

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene in the Kenyan capital

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene in the Kenyan capital

An injured man is evacuated from the scene of an explosion. Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the complex behind them

An injured man is evacuated from the scene of an explosion. Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the complex behind them

An injured man is evacuated from the scene of an explosion. Thick black smoke can be seen billowing from the complex behind them

Shell-shocked survivors are rushed to safety from the complex, barely-clothed, by security forces

Shell-shocked survivors are rushed to safety from the complex, barely-clothed, by security forces

Shell-shocked survivors are rushed to safety from the complex, barely-clothed, by security forces

An armed soldier takes cover next to a bullet hole-riddled glass during ongoing gunfire and explosions in Nairobi

An armed soldier takes cover next to a bullet hole-riddled glass during ongoing gunfire and explosions in Nairobi

An armed soldier takes cover next to a bullet hole-riddled glass during ongoing gunfire and explosions in Nairobi

‘We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on. We shall give details later,’ said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman. 

Gunfire continued several minutes after the first reports and black smoke was seen billowing from the buildings.

Four ambulances and a fire truck arrived at the scene as fleeing office workers said colleagues were still huddled under their desks. 

‘I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,’ a woman working in a neighbouring building said. She also heard two explosions, she said.

Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo had earlier said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery.

But police are not ruling out a militant attack, police spokesman Charles Owino told Citizen Television.

An injured member of staff is held up by a paramedic as he makes his way out of the complex

An injured member of staff is held up by a paramedic as he makes his way out of the complex

An injured member of staff is held up by a paramedic as he makes his way out of the complex

An armed officer tells survivors to stay back and duck down as he tries to lead them to safety

An armed officer tells survivors to stay back and duck down as he tries to lead them to safety

An armed officer tells survivors to stay back and duck down as he tries to lead them to safety

Kenyan special forces take position at the scene following two explosions and heavy gunfire

Kenyan special forces take position at the scene following two explosions and heavy gunfire

Kenyan special forces take position at the scene following two explosions and heavy gunfire

A woman is in tears as she's rescued from the Dusit Hotel on Riverside Drive in the Kenyan capital

A woman is in tears as she's rescued from the Dusit Hotel on Riverside Drive in the Kenyan capital

A woman is in tears as she’s rescued from the Dusit Hotel on Riverside Drive in the Kenyan capital

A woman roars in pain as two paramedics lead her away from the attack and to safety

A woman roars in pain as two paramedics lead her away from the attack and to safety

A woman roars in pain as two paramedics lead her away from the attack and to safety

A female member of staff cries after making it out of the complex. Her male colleagues and a guard console her 

A female member of staff cries after making it out of the complex. Her male colleagues and a guard console her 

A female member of staff cries after making it out of the complex. Her male colleagues and a guard console her 

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene

Several vehicles are burning while people are being rushed and carried from the scene

Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo had earlier said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery. But police are not ruling out a militant attack

Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo had earlier said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery. But police are not ruling out a militant attack

Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo had earlier said they had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive, where the dusitD2 hotel is located, due to a suspected robbery. But police are not ruling out a militant attack

Kenyan special forces armed with AK-47s crouch in bushes outside of the hotel complex as they fight back against terrorists

Kenyan special forces armed with AK-47s crouch in bushes outside of the hotel complex as they fight back against terrorists

Kenyan special forces armed with AK-47s crouch in bushes outside of the hotel complex as they fight back against terrorists

Cars were seen burning at the scene amid reports of explosions and heavy gunfire

Cars were seen burning at the scene amid reports of explosions and heavy gunfire

Cars were seen burning at the scene amid reports of explosions and heavy gunfire

‘We have to go for the highest incident that could take place. The highest incident we have is a terror (attack),’ he said. 

‘We are under attack,’ another person in an office inside the complex told Reuters, then hung up. Smoke could be seen rising from the area and a Reuters reporter saw several vehicles on fire near the entrance to the complex.

What appears to be plainclothes security forces are seen inching their way toward the scene, guns in hand.   

The attack immediately reminds many Kenyans of the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in 2013, when al-Shabab extremists burst into the luxury shopping center, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead.

The country faced a spate of attacks after it sent its army into Somalia in October 2011 to fight the Islamist Shabaab group, affiliated to Al-Qaeda.

On April 2, 2015, another Shabaab attack killed 148 people at the university in Garissa, eastern Kenya. 

The attack on an upscale hotel complex in Kenya’s capital comes a day after a magistrate’s court ruled that three men must stand trial on charges they were involved in the shopping mall attack in 2013.

The magistrate said Monday he was satisfied with prosecutors’ evidence linking the three suspects to the days-long siege of Westgate Mall in which 67 people were killed. A fourth suspect was freed for lack of evidence.

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