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Somali militant group al-Shabab claim responsibility for Nairobi hotel, office complex, Kenya attack

At least six people were killed Tuesday when an Islamist suicide bomber and gunmen stormed an upmarket hotel complex in Nairobi, in the first such attack in the Kenyan capital in five years.
Gunshots rang out sporadically as night fell in Nairobi, where police combed the hotel and outlying office buildings for survivors while trying to flush out the attackers. The attack at the DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel, restaurant and office buildings housing local and international companies, began at 3 pm (1200 GMT) with a massive explosion heard five kilometres (three miles) away at the AFP bureau. The Al-Qaeda linked Somalian group Al-Shabaab, which carried out a notorious assault on a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013, claimed responsibility, according to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities.

"We can now confirm that this criminal activity commenced at about three o'clock in a coordinated fashion and began at I&M Bank with an explosion that targeted three vehicles in the parking lot, and a suicide explosion in the foyer of Dusit hotel," said Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet. He said "a number of guests suffered serious injuries" but did not give a figure for fatalities.

 An AFP photographer saw the bodies of five dead, slumped over tables on a restaurant terrace in the complex. An official at the MP Shah hospital in Nairobi told Citizen TV that seven wounded had been admitted, one of whom had died. Meanwhile a police source, who asked not to be named, said he had seen as many as 14 dead. Elite police forces evacuated terrified workers barricaded in offices for up to seven hours after the explosion, which was followed by an hour of sustained gunfire.

A number of heavily armed foreign forces, who appeared to be from embassies based in Nairobi, were at the scene alongside Kenyan security officers. It was unclear how many people were still hiding inside office buildings or the hotel, owned by Thailand's giant Dusit Thani Group.

"I can now report we have secured all the buildings ... we are in the final stages of mopping up the area," said Interior Minister Fred Matiangi. Simon Crump, who works in the complex, said terrified workers had barricaded themselves inside their offices after "several" explosions.

"We have no idea what is happening. Gunshots are coming from multiple directions," he told AFP a few hours before he was also evacuated. One survivor evacuated from the building, speaking to a local television station, said the attackers were: "very confident they were people who knew what they were doing".

It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya since a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in 1998 killed more than 200 people. The attack also comes on the third anniversary of the El Adde attack when 250 Kenyan soldiers serving in Somalia were wiped out by al-Shabab fighters.
The complex attacked in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday includes the DusitD2 hotel, banks and offices.

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