On Monday, day three of a tense hostage standoff between police and members of Al-Shabab, witnesses said several powerful explosions caused the thick black clouds of smoke now hovering over the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Reuters reports that powerful blasts were followed by smaller explosions and gunfire. The fate of some hostages remaining inside the upscale shopping mall where between 10 to 15 masked gunmen ambushed the mall on Saturday, killing between 62 and 69 people.
A security official, who requested anonymity told Reuters at the scene: "It is us who caused the explosion, we are trying to get in through the roof."
Kenyan security officials said on Monday that two of the terrorists are dead and few, if any hostages remain inside the shopping venue.
The Red Cross said on Monday the death toll since Saturday's attack is 69, and 63 more people have been reported missing by family members. However, the official number of deaths climbed from 59 to 62 on Monday morning.
Al-Shabab, a Somalia based Islamic terrorist group claimed responsibility for Saturday's deadly terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall via Twitter where members of group continue to post updates.
Following Saturday's deadly attack, the group said it had repeatedly warned Kenya's government that failure to remove its forces from Somalia "would have severe consequences."
Islamic Sheikh, Ali Mohamud Rage said in an audio statement posted online.:
"The mujahideen will kill the hostages if the enemies use force."
On Twitter, the group posted: "As the operation gathers momentum inside #Westgate, the Mujahideen are for the 3rd day still in full control of the situation on the ground."
The U.S. Department of State confirmed reports on Saturday that some American citizens were injured in the attack.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI continue to monitor al-Shabab terrorist cells operating inside the United States. Federal prosecutors described members of al Shabab in Minnesota as part of a “deadly pipeline,” that provides financial support and fighters from the U.S. to Somalia.
In October, 2011, a 22 year-old American from Minnesota, Abdisalan Hussein Ali, was identified as one of two suicide bombers disguised as soldiers involved in a terrorist attack on the Somali capital that killed at least 10 people. Ali was the third known suicide bomber from Minnesota.
Two weeks prior to the suicide attack in 2011, two Minnesota women were convicted of conspiring to funnel money to al-Shabab in Somalia.
According to the FBI, more Americans have joined the Somalian terrorist group Al-Shabab, than any other terrorist organization. The majority of American members of Al- Shabab are from the Somali community in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Al-Shabab said on Sunday that three of the group's members involved in the deadly terrorist attack are from the United States, and may be American citizens. Two of the 3 terrorists from the U.S. are from Minnesota and the third is from Missouri.
The U.S. Department of State is working to identify the terrorists, however, the claims by al-Shabab that American's took part in in Saturday's deadly terrorist attack have not been confirmed.