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Kenya Shooting 2013

Kenya Mourns After Prolonged Mall Siege

Gunfire and grenades went off at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sept. 21, and the country mourns as investigations continue in the aftermath of the attack. With 63 people unaccounted for, several families are left wondering about loved ones, waiting to learn whether their friends and family members survived. Currently, Kenyan and American authorities are examining evidence and gathering sources to learn more about the attack and identify the gunmen. As more details emerge, take a look at the full timeline of events:

Day One

  • Midday on Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 to 15 masked gunmen entered the Westgate shopping center and went store to store on different floors, questioning people to see if they were Muslim. They reportedly lined up shoppers and asked them if to name the mother of the prophet Muhammad. If they could not, they were shot.
  • Army special forces moved inside the mall, and the military surrounded the building with helicopters above.
  • Victims were moved out of the mall and taken to local hospitals, where Kenyans turned out to donate blood.
  • The Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab identified themselves as the attackers via Twitter. "Al-Shabaab" means "The Youth" in Arabic, and the radical group is linked to al-Qaeda.
  • Authorities released information about some of the victims, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's nephew and his fiancée.

Keep reading for the rest of the Kenya shooting timeline.

Day Two

  • In the middle of the night, the military closed in on the mall.
  • Other victims were identified, including two Canadians.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry announced that several American citizens were injured, but there were no reports of any deaths. He released a statement, saying, "There exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant . . . We have offered our assistance to the Government of Kenya and stand ready to help in any way we can."
  • Around 9:30 a.m., gunfire broke out in the mall and two wounded security force members from Kenya were carried out of the building. Security advisers said five to 10 hostages were killed in the shootout.
  • Twenty-four hours after the start of the attack, 10 to 15 of the gunmen were still inside the mall. About 1,000 people had been rescued, but hostages were still held.

Day Three

  • The Kenya Red Cross tweeted that 62 people have died as a result of the attacks. At least five Americans were injured.
  • Volunteers waited outside the mall, ready to go in and recover bodies.
  • The Interior Ministry confirmed via Twitter that more than 10 additional suspects have been arrested in connection to the attack. Three suspected attackers had been killed at the mall.
  • The FBI announced that they were investigating claims that American citizens were involved in the attack.
  • Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said that most of the hostages had been evacuated, but it was unclear if more remained.
  • Fires were set in the mall, which was sealed off so that trapped terrorists couldn't escape.

Day Four

  • President Kenyatta confirmed that the siege is over, and five of the attackers were killed in the fighting.
  • Three floors of the mall collapsed during the standoff, trapping bodies inside with the military's attempts to clear out the terrorists.
  • President Kenyatta addressed the numbers: 11 arrests had been made, 61 civilians were confirmed dead, six security offers were killed, and 62 people remained in the hospital.

The Aftermath

  • Kenya began an official three-day period of mourning on Wednesday, Sept. 25.
  • Kenyan and American investigators launched a broad investigation that involves examining physical evidence at the mall, studying video footage of the attack, and gathering possible sources to identify the gunmen.
  • Speculation arose over whether any women were among the gunmen. It's unconfirmed.
  • Some people may still be trapped in the ruins of the building after parts of it collapsed.
  • It was announced that 63 people remain unaccounted for, and families continue to wait for news of loved ones, with many still wondering whether friends and family survived the attack.
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