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Kenyan forces kill 6 of remaining attacker

Updated: 2013-09-24 17:27
( Xinhua)

Kenyan forces kill 6 of remaining attacker

A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) armoured military vehicle drives to the Westgate shopping centre after an exchange of gunfire inside the mall in Nairobi, September 24, 2013. Kenya said its security forces were in control of the shopping mall where Islamist fighters killed at least 62 people, and police were doing a final sweep of shops early on Tuesday after rescuing the last hostages.[Photo/Agencies]

NAIROBI - Kenyan security forces killed six of the remaining attackers, the country's Citizen TV reported on Tuesday, as fresh gunfire erupted in the Nairobi mall.

"Security forces killed 6 of the remaining attackers," Citizen said without giving detail of the source. The Kenya Defense Forces said on Monday that three terrorists were killed and a few were injured.

The government said earlier that there were 10 to 15 gunmen fighting inside the mall where 62 people were killed and 175 were injured, the deadliest attack since the bombing at US Embassy in Nairobi killed more than 200 people.

Somali militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was part of retaliation for the cross-border incursion by Kenyan soldiers in October 2011.

Fresh gunshots where heard around 9:30, according to people working near the mall and a police officer involved in the operation, after gunfire erupted at around 6:20 am at the shopping mall near which Xinhua reported counted about 30 shots. The fresh fight between Kenyan security forces and gunmen broke the silence that persisted for hours over night which caused speculation that the siege of the mall might have ended.

"Our security forces were still combing the huge Westgate shopping center floor-by-floor to ensure that there were no grenades or any other explosive material that were left behind the terrorists," a senior police officer who was involved in the operation told Xinhua by telephone after the gunfight.

The officer who insisted on anonymity said there are still gunman inside the mall and there was exchange of fires between security forces and gunmen.

The special security forces will continue to secure the Westgate mall building for some time to ensure that all bodies were pulled out, the officer told Xinhua earlier Tuesday before the latest gunfight.

"The building may still be inaccessible to the public and media for a while since there are some bodies yet to be pulled out of the building," the officer said. "We also want to be sure that there are no dangerous devices that were left behind by the six terrorists who were killed during the rescue operation," he added.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to address the nation Tuesday.

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