MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) − A standoff between Islamic extremist gunmen and Kenyan security forces continued Sunday inside Nairobi's top mall as the state officials announced the death toll as high as 68, while some 200 were injured, according to media reports.
A group of suspected members of an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group holed up inside the Westgate Premier Shopping Mall on Saturday killing dozens of people inside.
As of Sunday morning between 10 and 15 gunmen remained holed up inside the mall with an unknown number of hostages. Elite military units were inside the Westgate mall, and volleys of gunfire continued into the afternoon Sunday. Two wounded Kenyan soldiers were seen being carried out of the mall in the morning, according to Associated Press. Earlier Sunday reports put the number of dead at 59, but it continued to rise during the day, the Red Cross said.
Foreigners were among the casualties. Britain confirmed Sunday that three of its citizens were killed in the attack. France's president said earlier that two French women were killed. Two Canadians were killed, including a diplomat, said the Canadian prime minister. Citizens from China, India and South Korea were among the victims, Agence France-Press reported on Sunday.
Prominent Ghanain poet Kofi Awoonor died after being injured in the attack, Ghana's presidential office confirmed. Four American citizens were reported injured, but no one has died.
Somalia's Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility and said the attack was retribution for Kenyan forces' 2011 push into Somalia. The rebels threatened more attacks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the terror attack and expressed condolences to his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kremlin reported on Sunday.
Updates the death toll