Sep 23 2013
About five minutes of sustained gunfire could be heard on Monday morning at the Nairobi mall where al Qaida-linked militants have killed at least 68 people and injured 175.
The shooting at daybreak was a clear indication that at least one gunman was still free and that the stand-off continued at the Westgate Centre.
Kenya's military had earlier launched a major operation at the upmarket mall and said it had rescued "most" of the hostages being held captive.
But hours later, no further updates has been released by the authorities.
The military assault had begun shortly before sundown, with one helicopter skimming very close to the roof of the shopping complex as a loud explosion rang out, far larger than any previous grenade blast or gunfire volley.
Kenyan police said on Twitter that security forces had launched a "MAJOR" assault to end the bloody siege.
"This will end tonight. Our forces will prevail. Kenyans are standing firm against aggression, and we will win," Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre said on Twitter.
The Kenya Defence Forces later said it had rescued "most" hostages and had taken control of most of the mall, though it did not provide details.
Many of the rescued hostages - mostly adults - were suffering from dehydration, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press. He refused to say how many hostages were rescued or how many were still being held. He said some of the attackers had "most probably" been killed in the operation.
The assault came about 30 hours after 10 to 15 al-Shabab extremists stormed the mall on Saturday from two sides, throwing grenades and firing on civilians.