Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for terror attack at Nairobi hotel complex

Published By ITCT News Desk On : January 15, 2019
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Kenya: Terrorist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the Tuesday’s attack in Nairobi, Kenya that targeted a hotel complex.

Multiple law enforcement agencies including an anti-terror unit were responding to a shooting near a hotel in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Tuesday, a police spokesman told local news outlets.

“So far we have been informed that there was a shooting incident on Riverside around the Dusit hotel,” Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino said. “We have sent in a number of teams from the anti-terror unit and CID to give support to what is going.”
“We have to assume that this is the highest possible type incident, so we are prepared,” he added.
According to initial reports from sources ITCT Newsdesk talked to, the attack likely involved at least one suicide bomber and a car bomb and multiple heavily armed gunmen.
The area around Dusit hotel, which is located within a complex on Riverside Drive in Nairobi’s affluent Westlands neighborhood, has been cordoned off, Kenya Police said on Twitter.
Dusit is a boutique hotel located in the upscale Riverside area of Nairobi, around 3km from State House.
Witnesses have been sharing videos of the explosion in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. In one, people can be seen running away as the sound of gunshots ring around the area.

al-Qaeda allied terrorist group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Initial al-Shabaab statement

The BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi reports that witnesses say they saw four armed men entering a complex which houses a hotel in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Here’s what we know so far about the attack on a hotel complex in the Westlands area of Nairobi:

  • Reports say at least two explosions were heard, followed by sustained gunfire.
  • Police say for now they are treating it as a terrorist attack.
  • People have been leaving the scene escorted by heavily armed soldiers; one man has been led out with a gunshot wound in the back.
  • Medics are at the scene and the head of Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation is leading rescue efforts.
  • The surrounding buildings are being evacuated and the area has been cordoned off.

al-Qaeda’s Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) issued English translation for al-Shabaab claim for Nairobi attack.

Kenyan police said they are engaging the attackers.

UPDATE – 16th Jan 2019:

Authorities in Kenya confirmed on Wednesday that a total of 15 people have died in the al-Shabaab attack while over 700 civilians were rescued from the hotel complex.

CCTV footage broadcast on television showed four attackers, clad all in black and heavily armed, entering a courtyard in the compound at the start of the assault.

CCTV footage the heavily armed attackers

CCTV footage the heavily armed attackers

The attack began at around 3:00 PM local time when a suicide bomber detonated themselves in the foyer of the Dusit D2 Hotel, while a second explosion rocked the parking lot outside. At least four gunmen then began shooting civilians and security forces in the hotel and attached buildings, which include a bank and are frequented by foreigners. More than twelve hours later there were still reports of fighting in the city, despite the statements from the Kenyan government. But the attack is finally over, leaving a trail of devastation behind.

“We have 15 people dead as of now and that includes foreigners,” a police source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Among the dead are an American, a South African and a UK citizen.

The American citizen was identified as Jason Spindler, a businessman who survived the 9/11 attacks.

Jason Spindler, an American citizen, was one of 14 people who died in the Nairobi attack by al-Shabab terrorists.

A second police source confirmed the toll but warned “there are areas not yet accessed but that’s what we know so far.”

The attack was claimed by al-Shabaab group.

Initial statement by al-Shabaab claiming the attack

A number of heavily-armed foreign forces, who appeared to be from embassies based in Nairobi, were at the scene alongside Kenyan security officers.

One survivor rescued from the building told a local television station the attackers were “very confident; they were people who knew what they were doing”.

When plainclothes Kenyan police and uniformed security forces elements responded to the latest attack at the Dusit D2 complex, they found themselves in a firefight with the attackers. In addition, members of the press on the scene spotted an individual in plainclothes wearing a balaclava and carrying weapons and other equipment more closely associated with western special operations forces, The Drive reported. This included a camouflage-painted AR-15/M16 rifle, or derivative thereof, with a suppressor and other accessories, a drop holster with a Glock pistol, and a Crye Precision Adaptive Vest System and other attached tactical gear.

The video and pictures show him working directly with Kenyan security forces, darting back and forth to usher civilians to safety. One picture shows him dramatically carrying a wounded individual with the aid of another person who is either a plainclothes police officer or just an innocent bystander. What’s so interesting is that there is no sign that this individual was part of a larger, similarly equipped team and appears to be acting by himself in conjunction with Kenyan forces.

He was not wearing any apparent national or distinctive unit insignia, but the individual did have a very specific patch on the back of his gear emblazoned with a flag motif associated with the infamous pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and his most famous ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The design features a horned skeleton toasting the devil and spearing a heart, with three drops of blood falling from it. This patch has become closely associated with the U.S. Navy SEALs in recent years as some of the teams seemed to have adopted it and Blackbeard’s lore to some degree.

In a statement, the Somali government condemned the al-Shabaab attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

Statement by Somali government

 

In a detailed statement released by al-Shabaab on Wednesday, the group claimed that the attack in Nairobi was in revenge for U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

 

U.S. State Department released a statement condemning the attack in Nairobi:

 

UPDATE 17th January 2019: 

At least 21 people are known to have died when Islamist al-Shabaab militants stormed a luxury hotel compound in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Among the victims was someone who had survived the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, a football fan and well-known YouTuber and two inseparable friends.

Some of the victims of Nairobi attack

 

This story will be updated in case of new information. 

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