The ongoing terrorist shooting and hostage situation unfolding at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is taking a decidedly personal turn toward the U.S., as recent reports are now saying Americans were involved in the attack that killed over 60 people, says NBC News on Sept. 22.
The attack by a multinational group of al-Qaida-linked extremists and subsequent four-day siege by Kenyan security forces has been headline news for days, with at least 65 killed, and twice that amount injured. The Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Despite claims from Kenyan authorities that the mall has been reclaimed, the extremist group says gunmen are still alive inside the mall and holding hostages, sending out tweets and pictures of what appears to be terrorists roaming the mall and streets of Nairobi.
Kenyan police were quick to counter those allegations, taking their own message to Twitter:
“The enemy will continue spewing out propaganda to ensure that we fail as they want us to. Let us ignore such and focus on what is clear.” –Kenyan Police via Twitter
The FBI is now looking into claims that Westerners were connected to, and assisted in carrying out the attack. Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said American teenagers were among the terrorists.
“The Americans, from the information we have, are young men, about between maybe 18 and 19,” Mohamed said.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, the Kenyan Minister said "two or three" teens were of Somali or Arab descent and lived in Minnesota and one other place in the U.S.
According to the Daily Mail, Minneapolis has one of the largest Somali communities in the world, with an estimated 35,000 residents, some of which the FBI says could be sympathetic to the terrorist’s cause.
“It is troubling, because it uses the medium of video to romanticize what it is to go to Somalia and fight. And it’s appealing, unfortunately, to some young men here in Minneapolis,” FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said.
Loven was quick to back down however from any accusatory tone in his words.
“We're not confirming or speculating on possible involvement at this time,” Loven said. “The FBI enjoys a wonderful relationship with the Somali community here [in Minneapolis]. The community is appalled with what is happening.”
One of the attackers killed was a British woman, thought to be the well-known “White Widow” terrorist. The Brit has “done this many times before,” Mohamed said, leading to speculation that Samantha Lewhwaite, the White Widow, was a part of the attack, perhaps even organizing it.
Lewthwaite is the widow of one of the bombers who carried out the July 7th terror attack on the London Underground.