As the hostage situation at Nairobi's Westgate mall entered its fourth day, there were conflicting reports from Kenyan officials, who claim the rescue operation is all but over, and militant group al Shabab, who said on Twitter that their fighters were "holding their ground."
"The hostages who were being held by the Mujahideen inside #Westgate are still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive," one Tweet said. Another reads: "There are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall, and the Mujahideen are still holding their ground #Westgate"
Kenya's police chief called al Shabab's claims “propaganda” as Kenya's Interior Minister tweeted that the operation was all but over. “We're very near the end,” he said in a Tweet, adding in another that security forces "continue to neutralize terrorist threat, troops now in mop up operations in the building."
There were also reports in Kenyan media that six of the militants had been killed, but government officials could only confirm the deaths of three. It's believed between 10-15 militants stormed the mall on Saturday, meaning, if Kenyan officials' estimates are correct, 7 to 12 militants remain alive inside.
Al Shabab tweeted what they claim is a photo of two of those militants, captured on a security camera inside the mall.
Kenya's foreign minster, Amina Mohamed, said on Monday that "two or three" of the attackers were Americans, from Minnesota or Missouri. “That just goes to underline the global nature of the war that we’re fighting,” she said in an interview with PBS. A spokeswoman for the US State Department said there was "no definitive evidence of the nationalities or identities of the perpetrators at this time," but added that officials were investigating Mohamed's report.
[Image via AP]