Kenyan troops try to save mall hostages as battle enters third day
NAIROBI (AFP) - Kenyan troops battled into the early hours of Monday as they tried to end a bloody stand-off with Somali Islamist militants holding hostages inside a shopping mall, with police warning the death toll of 68 could rise sharply.
The army said it had secured most of the upmarket, part Israeli-owned Westgate complex, and that most the hostages had been rescued. It said it was trying to bring a "speedy conclusion" to the drama, now into its third day.
Security and intelligence sources told AFP that Israeli agents were also assisting in the operation. Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre said a "major engagement" with the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab fighters was in process.
"Our concern is to rescue all hostages alive and that is why the operation is delicate," the Kenya Defence Forces said in its latest update. It did not say how many people were being held by the dozen-or-so attackers.