Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says security forces have finally defeated a small group of terrorists after four days in fighting at a Nairobi mall.
In a televised address to the nation Tuesday, Kenyatta said "we have ashamed and defeated our attackers."
He said the attack had left 240 casualties, including 61 dead civilians and six of his security forces. He said five terrorists were killed and another 11 suspects have been taken into custody.
The president says three floors of the Westgate mall collapsed and that there are "several bodies still trapped in the rubble including the terrorists."
He declared three days of national mourning.
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Multiple large blasts have rocked Kenya's Westgate Mall where a hostage siege is in its third day.
Associated Press reporters on the scene Monday heard multiple blasts and a barrage of gunfire. Black and grey smoke rose up from the mall.
Security forces have been attempting to rescue an unknown number of hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists.
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Kenyan's military said late Sunday it had rescued "most" of the remaining hostages held by al-Qaida-linked militants in an upscale Nairobi mall after launching a major operation to end a two-day standoff that had already killed 68 people.
The assault, which began shortly before sundown, came as two helicopters circled the mall, with one skimming very close to the roof. A loud explosion rang out, far larger than any previous grenade blast or gunfire volley.
Kenya Defence Forces said it had rescued most hostages and had taken control of most of the mall. Officials did not immediately release the number of hostages rescued or the number that remained. Officials said four Kenyan military personnel were wounded in the operation.
Kenyan police say a "major" assault by security forces has begun to end the two-day hostage crisis at a Nairobi mall, in which 68 people have died.
Kenya's Disaster Operation Center said late Sunday that "this will end tonight. Our forces will prevail."
Word of the Kenyan assault comes shortly after a large blast echoed from the mall, around the start of the operation.
Before the assault two helicopters hovered over the mall, skimming the roof. Al-Shabab militants reacted angrily to the helicopters on Twitter and said the Kenyan military action was endangering hostages.
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