World Bulletin/News Desk
Kenyan citizens of different religious backgrounds, including Muslims, were united Sunday in condemning the ongoing hostage-taking saga in a Nairobi mall.
"The attack is barbaric and satanic," Hamiza Saja, a gender activist, told Anadolu Agency.
"It is a challenge to the government and all of us Kenyans," she asserted.
Saja said that as a Muslim, she was aware that Islam abhors acts of violence.
She insisted that the attackers should not be associated with the religion.
"The attackers should be punished irrespective of their religion or race," Saja said.
"My prayers are for the injured and we hope the government will rescue those still trapped in the building."
Kenyan Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku confirmed Sunday that 59 people have been killed and 175 injured so far in an ongoing hostage-taking saga in a Nairobi mall.
Heavily-armed attackers entered the Westgate Mall, not far from the Central Business District, shortly before noon local time.
They shot at guards manning a car park before storming the building both through the main entrance and an underground opening, according to witnesses.
The attackers were still holed up inside the building by mid-day Sunday, with a number of shoppers still believed to be held hostage or trapped inside.
Al-Shabab militant group in Somalia has claimed responsibility for the attack, describing it as a reaction to Kenyan military intervention in Somalia.
Duncan Chando, a social worker, condemned the attack.
"We are all united in condemning this act of terror and as you can see we have all come out together as Kenyans irrespective of ethnicity, religion or race to pray and offer support to our brothers and sisters who have suffered in the attack," he told AA.
Aggrey Omondi, a CSO official who spoke to Anadolu Agency on phone from Ugunja town in Nyanza, Western Kenya, agreed.
"I condemn the attack," he said.
"I salute our security forces for the rescue work and other Kenyans for turning out at various hospitals to donate blood," added Omondi.
By 2:00 pm local time, the Red Cross confirmed that at least 5 more hostages had been freed from inside the building.
Kenyan security forces were still inside and more army trucks could be seen arriving at the scene.
Esther Nthusi, a Nairobi resident, said they spent the day in church praying for the victims and the families of those killed.
"We have lost two people from our Umoja Estate, a couple who were due to wed in December," Ms Nthusi told AA.
"We are very sad that we have lost such young people. We hope the government will rescue the remaining hostages and arrest the attackers."
Rahel, an Ethiopian national working in Kenya, also condemned the attack.
"My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, and also wish quick recovery to the injured," she told AA.
Bhasir Mohamed, a Kenyan Muslim, dismissed the attack as "heinous and cowardly act by terrorists."
He insisted that the targeting of women and children runs counter to the Islamic teachings of peace.
"I urge fellow Kenyans to remain tolerant and live together as brothers and sisters and condemn this attempt to cause religious strife."
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby downplayed any disconnect with the White House and said U.S. officials were constantly reviewing Syria options
Kiir will be accompanied on his visit by a number of South Sudanese government ministers and officials.
Announcement follows unprecedented talks between Myanmar’s military, political leaders, major opposition parties
Tension has run high across the occupied West Bank since the Wednesday shooting of an extremist Jewish rabbi in Jerusalem
A perforation made in a subterranean water source during mining activities seemed to have caused the flooding
Al-Ahram said Egyptian authorities asked Moussa Ibrahim to leave the country at the request of the Libyan government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni
A fire broke out at France's public radio headquarters in Paris, forcing live programmes off the air as staff evacuated the vast Paris complex where major building work has been underway
Rula Ghani, spouse of Afghanistan's new president Ashraf Ghani, have already critised some Islamic norms welcomed by Afghan society.
At least 300 ISIL militants were killed and scores of vehicles captured in clashes
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when Kiir accused sacked vice president Riek Machar of leading a failed coup attempt against his regime.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Burkina Faso on Friday to press President Blaise Compaore to step down, a day after the army dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests.
Erekat's statement came during a meeting with foreign officials in the West Bank city of Jericho
Catalan head Artur Mas plans to hold the Nov. 9 ballot, marshalled by volunteers, in place of a non-binding referendum on independence declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's comments show how the threat posed by ISIL has pushed some Shi'ites and Sunnis to overcome their sectarian differences and face a common enemy
The fresh violence comes amid rising tension in the holy city after Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
The absence of the three Muslim leaders means that only the majority Orthodox Christian countries will be represented