Nairobi: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday that Islamists who stormed an upmarket hotel complex, killing 14 people, had been “eliminated” after an almost 20-hour siege in which hundreds of civilians were rescued. At least one suicide bomber blew himself up and gunmen engaged security forces in numerous shootouts during the assault on the DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel, spa, restaurant and office buildings.
The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Somali group Al-Shabaab, which has repeatedly targeted Kenya since it sent its army into Somalia in October 2011 to fight the jihadist group. The sight of armed Islamists and terrified civilians fleeing reminded Kenyans of a 2013 Shabaab attack on the Westgate mall left 67 dead in a siege that stretched out over four days and led to sharp criticism of the security response.
In a televised address, Kenyatta said some 700 civilians had been evacuated throughout the attack at DusitD2, with the swift and effective work from security forces drawing widespread praise in local media. “I can confirm that… the security operation at Dusit complex is over and all the terrorists eliminated,” Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation.
Meanwhile, a new blast has been heard at a hotel complex in Kenya’s capital, 24 hours after several extremists attacked. Witnesses say security forces are conducting a painstaking sweep for any explosives in the Nairobi complex of half a dozen buildings. Emergency responders near the scene appear unperturbed. Kenya’s president has said “all the terrorists have been eliminated” in the attack that authorities say killed 14 people. Some 700 people were evacuated in the overnight security operation.