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3 terrorists killed, others injured by Kenyan forces

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-24 06:46

NAIROBI - Kenya's security forces have killed three terrorists and injured others in Monday's operation to end the hostage crisis since the weekend, according to the government.

The forces are closing in on the remaining elements of the 10 to 15 Al-Shabaab gunmen at Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in an apparently final assault to end the three-day terror scenario.

Officials in their latest reports about the mall siege said they have rescued most of the hostages and controlled almost all the complex in Monday's operation.

Thick, black smoke is still billowing from the mall building hours after explosions and heavy gunfire were heard in the operation to free hostages.

The Kenyan Interior Ministry said 62 people have been confirmed dead and 175 others injured since the Al-Qaida linked militants stormed into the shopping mall on Saturday.

Kenyan police said they have managed to rescue some of the hostages.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said the security forces were trying to gain access from the rooftop of the Westgate shaping mall.

"Thumbs up to our multi-agency team, we have just managed to rescue some hostages. We are increasingly gaining advantage of the attackers," Kimaiyo said via his Twitter account.

"As we intensify our operations, we urge the public, to stay away from Westgate and its environs for their own safety," he added, as ambulances were seen rushing to the mall.

Kenyan security forces are stepping up their onslaught against the Al-Shabaab gunmen to end the crisis.

The final onslaught comes as Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said at least 69 people have been killed and 63 others remain unaccounted for as of 11:20 a.m. local time on Monday.

Those missing are believed to have been held hostage by the gunmen.

The insurgents from Somalia have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Kenyan soldiers who launched a cross-border incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia.

On an earlier occasion, Cabinet Secretary in charge of Internal Security Joseph Ole Lenku said the gallant multi-agency security forces who continued their operations overnight had rescued a number of hostages from the mall.

"They have rescued a few more civilians held inside the mall, but a few still remain. We are unable to give precise figures at this stage," Lenku said.

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