At least 39 people were killed when a Somali-based terror group opened fire at a mall in Kenya. The Al Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabab (also listed as “Al-Shabaab”) claimed responsibility for the shootings on Twitter. The group was reportedly live tweeting the shooting under the username @HSM_Press. The account has since been suspended.
The terror group claims that the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya was a revenge attack that targeted non-Muslims. The following statements were copied from the Twitter account before it was suspended:
HSM has on numerous occasions warned the #Kenyan government that failure to remove its forces from Somalia would have severe consequences.
The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar (infidels) inside their own turf.
What Kenyans are witnessing at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military.
The attack at #WestGateMall just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders.
After enough users reported the Twitter account, it was eventually suspended for violating the terms of service. Some Twitter users claimed to see the live tweets posted by Al-Shabab:
This is crazy. The Somali militant group al-Shabab is live tweeting their attack on #Westgate shopping mall in #kenya at @HSM_Press
— Liam Stack (@liamstack) September 21, 2013
Hi @Twitter, how about you shut down this >>> @HSM_Press <<< terrorist account? They are unapologetic murderers. Thank you. #westgate
— Angel (@a_la_Angel) September 21, 2013
Al-Shabab shooters entered the Kenya mall around noon, throwing hand grenades and firing rifles. According to the BBC, a children’s event was being held at the mall at that time. The Kenyan police and military responded to the shootings, but the gunmen still have hostages at the time of this posting.
Witness Manish Turohit, 18, was able to avoid injury and gave his account of what happened. “They just came in and threw a grenade,” he said. “We were running and they opened fire. They were shouting and firing.” Turohit also said that the shooters were carrying AK-47s and had on vests with hand grenades attached.
The Somali terror group Al-Shabab also took responsibility for an attack in Somali earlier this month that left 15 people dead. After detonating a car bomb near a restaurant, the bomber then blew himself up as people gathered around.