World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli advisers are helping Kenya formulate a strategy to end a siege at a Nairobi shopping mall where militants have killed at least 59 people and are holding hostages, an Israeli security source said on Sunday.
"There are Israeli advisers helping with the negotiating strategy, but no Israelis involved in any imminent storming operation," said the source, who declined to be identified.
The source said only a "handful" of Israelis, "purely in an advisory role", were on scene at the upscale Westgate shopping centre, which has several Israeli-owned outlets and is frequented by expatriates and Kenyans.
An Israeli source in Nairobi said all Israelis who were in the mall at the time of the attack had made it out safely, with the last three rescued overnight.
There were conflicting reports from other security sources in Nairobi about the part Israel was playing.
One Kenyan security source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that the Israeli military was involved in the operation, while a private security official also said they were helping comb the mall.
But the Kenyan Interior Minister insisted it was a national operation, despite offers of foreign support.
Three Britons have been confirmed killed in an armed attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi and the number is likely to rise, Britain's Foreign Office said on Sunday.
Foreign Secretary William Hague chaired a meeting of the government's crisis committee in London to discuss the incident in the Kenyan capital, his department said in a statement.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Kenya's deputy president William Ruto have asked International Criminal Court judges to meet in emergency session to allow him to return home and deal with the armed occupation of a Nairobi shopping mall in which at least 59 people died.
Lawyers made the request in a filing introduced on Sunday and seen by Reuters. If it is granted, Ruto could leave The Hague for Nairobi on Sunday evening, a person familiar with the case said.
Ruto and his boss, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of crimes against humanity in relation to their alleged role in coordinating a wave of violence that swept Kenya in the aftermath of the country's contested 2007 elections.
In the filing, lawyers say Ruto was needed at home to help with security briefings and consultations. Kenyatta and Ruto are voluntarily complying with court summonses, but have previously asked to be excused from attending every session in view of the responsibilities attached to the high offices they both hold.
"Mr Ruto ... is required to return to Kenya to discharge his ordinary constitutional duties," lawyers wrote in the filing. "Thereafter, Mr Ruto will be required to deal with the aftermath of such a traumatic and tragic event for Kenya."
Last Mod: 22 Eylül 2013, 16:21