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Kenya mourns after terrorist-attack leaves 14 dead

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Nairobi – Kenyans and foreign nationals were among the 14 people killed in a bombing- and-gun attack on a high-end hotel complex in Nairobi overnight into Wednesday.

Militants launched the attack at the Dusit Hotel with a suicide bombing on Tuesday afternoon, and the assault continued into the early hours of Wednesday .

A woman cries after identifying the body of a relative at the Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya on January 16, 2019 after a blast followed by a gun battle that rocked the upmarket hotel complex the day before. – Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on January 16, 2019 that all Islamists who had stormed an upmarket hotel complex had been “eliminated” after an almost 20-hour siege that left several dead. “I can now confirm that… the security operation at Dusit is over and all terrorists have been eliminated,” Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation. He said several people had been killed and 700 civilians rescued from the building, but did not clarify if people were still hiding in the complex. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP)

Somali-based jihadist group, al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“I can now confirm that as about one-hour ago, the security operation at Dusit complex was over and all the terrorists eliminated,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on television.

Kenyatta gave no details about the victims, though the British High Commission in Kenya confirmed that one of their nationals had been killed.

“We are sad to confirm that we believe that at least one British national had been killed in the attack,” British High Commissioner, Nic Hailey, said in a video posted to Twitter.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that a U.S. citizen had been killed.

The hotel complex where the attack occurred was also home to offices and one company, Adam Smith International.

Two of the company’s staff, both Kenyan nationals, were killed.

“Both our colleagues were Kenyan nationalities of Somali orgin,” ASI communications adviser, Brigid Janssen, said.

Kenyatta vowed to defeat al-Shabaab militants in his statement.

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“Throughout the breadth of Kenya and in our immediate neighbourhood, multiple security efforts are under way to detect, deter, disrupt and defeat any terrorist operative or group,” the president said.

A conference with attendees from the U.S. had been planned at the hotel, a police officer, who requested anonymity said.

He said he thought this might have been the target of the attackers.

Nairobi was subdued on Wednesday, with local media reporting stories from survivors and victims’ families.

City residents expressed defiance on social media with the hashtag #KenyaUnbowed- trending online.

The EU was among those, who offered their condolences.

“Kenya’s stand against terrorism, at home and abroad, is a necessary fight against a challenge that we all face – be it in Africa, in Europe or in the rest of the world,” the EU said in a statement.

“The EU has been and will continue to be at the government of Kenya’s side in these efforts,” it added.

The Kenyan capital experienced one of its worst terrorist incidents in 2013, when at least 67 people were killed in an attack on the Westgate Mall that was also claimed by al-Shabaab militants.

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al-Shabaab often targets hotels popular with diplomats, foreigners and senior officials in Somalia, as well as government offices.

The attack at the Dusit came on the third anniversary of a major attack on a Kenyan military base in Somalia.

British-based risk-analysis group, Verisk Maplecroft, said in a Wednesday statement that the security response to the hotel attack had been better organised than previously.

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“al-Shabaab’s tactics have evolved, but so have those of Kenyan security forces,” the group said.

“Yesterday’s response was considerably more professional and effective than during the initial stages of the Westgate attack five years ago, ” it said. (dpa/NAN)

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