“The gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave. They were safe, and non-Muslims would be targeted," said a witness to a tragic terrorist attack that left at least 39 dead and scores more injured at an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Saturday.
Several foreigners, including a Canadian diplomat, were among the dead. France said two of its citizens had been killed, and Canada said two Canadians had died, including the 29-year-old diplomat.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there were no Americans among the dead. However, several U.S. citizens had been injured, including Elaine Dang, a University of California, Berkeley graduate. Dang worked as the general manager for Eat Out Kenya, which confirmed her injuries on its Twitter and Facebook pages.
In addition, the wife of a U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, speaking in a nationally televised address after the tragedy, said that at least 39 people were killed, among them close members of his own family.
A senior government official said on his Twitter feed that more than 300 people had been wounded. The dead included children, and the wounded ranged in age from 2 to 78.
Al Shabab is a radical Islamist faction with links to Al Qaeda, and is currently battling Kenyan and other African peacekeepers in Somalia. The group has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia. The group controls much of southern Somalia, and is notorious for their brutal and cruel interpretation of Sharia law.