Police and anti-terrorist forces have been fighting to regain control of a hotel and office complex in the centre of Nairobi after it was seized by gunmen on Tuesday.
Witnesses in the Kenyan capital said between four and six armed men had rushed into the dusitD2 compound, which includes a hotel, restaurants, a spa and several office buildings housing international companies, at about 3pm local time.
Sustained automatic gunfire and grenade explosions were heard shortly afterwards, as scores of people fled the scene, reports The Guardian.
There were reports that at least three people had been killed and one suspect detained. Many more have been wounded with local hospitals asking for blood donations.
Police officials have said that “armed criminals are still holed up in the building and that special forces are currently flushing them out”.
One man came out covered in blood as students were evacuated from a nearby university building. Four ambulances and a fire engine arrived at the scene as fleeing office workers told reporters their colleagues were still huddled under their desks.
The attack bore many of the hallmarks of a terrorist operation and was being described as a terrorist incident by police at the scene.
Al-Shabaab, the militant Islamist organisation based in neighbouring Somalia, has already claimed responsibility on its in-house radio network and online.
They were responsible for an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in 2013 which left at least 67 people dead.
Tuesday’s attack came exactly three years after a deadly al-Shabaab attack on a Kenyan military base in El-Adde in Somalia, where about 140 Kenya soldiers were killed.
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