Nairobi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Reports indicate that the Islamic terrorists, who for two days held hostage an unknown number of people in a Kenyan shopping mall, including many Asians, blew themselves up. Shortly before, Sheik Ali Mahmoud Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabab (the Islamist group responsible for the attack), issued a statement on an Islamist website, stating "We authorise the mujahedeen inside the building to take actions against the prisoners as much as they are pressed".
Yesterday, in a leak yesterday Kenya's security services said that Israeli agents were operating alongside Kenyan agents in the rescue mission. The al-Shabab terrorist group confirmed the report via twitter, which it has used to provide constant updates on the on-going operation.
However, anonymous sources in Israel's Foreign Ministry denied the report. "There are Israeli advisers helping with the negotiating strategy, but no Israelis involved in any imminent storming operation," said a security source in Jerusalem. He said only a "handful" of Israelis, "purely in an advisory role", were on scene.
Less than 48 hours after the attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, the gun battle between terrorists and government soldiers, appears over. In its latest update, the Kenyan Red Cross put the provisional toll at 69 dead and 170 injured. The list includes numerous Western and Asian nationals.
According to the official estimates, fewer than 20 terrorists were in the building but the possible number of hostages remains unclear.
The attack, which began two days ago, is Kenya's bloodiest since 1998, when a bomb exploded at the US embassy in Nairobi killing more than 200 people.
The Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, which carried out both, has justified the attack against the mall as an act of retaliation against the Kenyan government, after it sent troops into Somalia in 2011.
Affiliated with al-Qaeda, the Islamist group Al-Shabab (youth in Arabic) still controls some parts of rural Somalia.
Some of those who managed to escape from the shopping centre have said that the terrorists, after releasing Muslim hostages, shot non-Muslims who could not name the mother of the prophet.