More than 30 people were killed and upwards of 100 others were wounded when masked gunmen, believed to be members of an Islamist terrorist group, attacked a shopping center in Kenya's capital of Nairobi on Saturday, according to Law Enforcement Examiner's Israeli police and counterterrorism source.
The numbers of those killed or wounded remain sketchy, but reports indicate there are Americans among those wounded.
A statement from Al-Shabaab leaders on the groups official Twitter feed stated that the attacks are "retribution for military action by Kenya's security forces inside Somalia."
The Islamist group claims its fighters entered Nairobi's modern Westgate Mall at around noon and were still inside more than nine hours later. Kenyan military special forces had entered the mall in an effort to end the standoff, since Al-Shabaab terrorists are holding several hostages.
Kenya's special forces troops responded to the mall in order to assist Nairobi police officers. The elite fighters also brought in mechanized armor vehicles including tanks, according to some media reports.
Somalia has not had an effective central government for more than two decades, while Al-Shabaab has grown stronger and more skilled in the use of propaganda while also developing greater operational capabilities, according to Examiner.
Al Shabaab has used propaganda as both a method of reporting victories and as a tool to weaken the legitimacy of the Somali government and to improve its own legitimacy in the eyes of the civilian population, according to an Examiner news report.
It's widely known that hundreds of Kenyan youths and foreigners who had joined Al Shabaab, an ally of al-Qaeda, secretly entered Kenya in order to carryout terrorist attacks on Christian churches and public assembly facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa, according to a news report by Law Enforcement Examiner.
According to an Ed Klein article, some of the Kenyan Obama family members are devout fundamentalist Muslims known as Wahhabists, although there are no reports of membership in the al-Qaeda-affiliate Al Shabaab. Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia and is considered extremist by many Muslims.