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At least 21 killed as Kenya hotel siege is declared over

CNN


An American and a Briton were confirmed to be among at least 21 people killed in an attack at a hotel complex in Nairobi as the incident was brought to an end Wednesday.

The hourslong assault, launched Tuesday by heavily armed militants, targeted the DusitD2 compound, an upmarket cluster of shops and hotel facilities in the Kenyan capital.

“The security operation at Dusit complex is over, and all the terrorists eliminated,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told reporters without giving details. He called the attackers terrorists.

More than 700 people were evacuated to safety in the course of the attack, he said.

Shortly before Kenyatta declared the attack over, gunshots and explosions could still be heard at the scene.

Six more bodies were found late Wednesday at the scene, according to Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett, speaking live on local television station Citizen TV. That brought the death toll to 21.

Boinett said 16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American, and three unidentified people of African origin are among the dead. Twenty-eight other people have been hospitalized.

Jason Spindler, an American who survived the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was identified by his employer as one of those killed in the attack. He was co-founder and managing director of I-DEV International, a firm advising on business strategy for emerging markets.

A British man is also among the dead, the UK high commissioner to Kenya said. He was named by development organization Gatsby Africa as Luke Potter, head of its forestry and tea portfolio.

The coordinated attack started Tuesday afternoon as an unknown number of gunmen attacked the complex, leading to a standoff that continued through the night, with people trapped in various parts of the buildings hours later.

Security camera footage showed at least three armed men, dressed in dark clothing and with their faces uncovered, moving through the compound.

The Kenya Red Cross said in a Twitter update that at least 30 people had been injured in the attack and that 50 remained unaccounted for as of 3 p.m. (7 a.m. ET) Wednesday.

Somali Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was a response to US President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to a statement circulated Wednesday.

“In a response to the witless remarks of US President, Donald Trump, and his declaration” of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the group targeted “Western and Zionist interests worldwide … in support of our Muslim families in Palestine.”