Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for Nairobi attack

A blast and heavy gunfire sent workers fleeing for their lives at an upscale hotel and office complex in Kenya’s capital on Tuesday.

Several vehicles were burning and gunfire continued for several minutes, witnesses said.

“I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,” a woman working in a neighboring building said.

Police at the scene described the incident in the Westlands area of the city as a terrorist attack that happened along 14 Riverside, which houses offices, retail outlets, and restaurants, along with the upscale Dusit D2 hotel.

Several wounded people were also removed from the premises and smoke plumed from a building inside the complex.

Hotel staff through the social media messaging App – WhatsApp said, “We have barricaded all doors and locked ourselves in at Metta. We are in our workplace hiding.”

The upscale area in the west of Nairobi is home to several embassies and banks, with the Australian high commission located just down the road from the scene of the attack.

A University of Nairobi dormitory is also next door; students were evacuated as security officials arrived in the scene.

Initially, there was confusion over whether the attack was a robbery or a suspected terrorist attack. Kenya has previously been the target of several deadly attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group.

In 2013, the group attacked Nairobi’s West gate Mall luxury shopping center, hurling grenades and starting a days-long siege that left 67 people dead.