Large Explosion Rocks Kenya Mall in Hostage Siege 9/22/13
September 22, 2013
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - A large explosion rocked the Kenyan mall where Islamic extremists are holding hostages a day after attacking the center and killing 59 people.
Associated Press journalists at the Westgate mall said the explosion Sunday afternoon was by far the largest in the 30-hour siege. There was silence after the big blast.
An estimated 10 to 15 militant attackers are in the shopping mall holding an unknown number of captives. The Kenyan military has gone into the four-story mall and there have been sporadic gun battles. Some Kenyan military were seen carrying in at least two rocket propelled grenades. Earlier military helicopters hovered over the mall.
President Barack Obama has phoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to express the United States' condolences.
The White House said Sunday that Obama also told Kenyatta the United States supports his country's effort to bring the al-Shabab network of Islamic extremists to justice for the deadly attack.
Al-Shabab is Somalia's al-Qaida-linked rebel group. The attackers said the strike was retribution for Kenyan forces' 2011 push into neighboring Somalia.
The White House also says during the morning call Obama reaffirmed the United States' partnership with the East African country.