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Foreign Experts Join Kenya Clue Hunt

Foreign Experts Join Kenya Clue Hunt File Image

Kenya's investigation into a bloody siege by Islamist militants in Nairobi has been joined by experts from the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Interpol.

Forensic experts are combing the Westgate shopping complex for DNA and ballistic clues, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said.

He confirmed that five militants were dead and said the bodies of more terrorists were expected to be found.

Funerals are continuing to be held for the 67 civilian and military victims.

"We have moved to the next phase," Mr Lenku told a news briefing in Nairobi, saying that he expected the forensic audit to take at least seven days.

He said he did not expect the death toll to rise significantly.

Several bodies are thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed. Mr Lenku said he only expected bodies of terrorists to be found.

Work is continuing to establish their identities, including whether one was a woman, he added. saying: "We want to again request you to allow the forensic experts to determine whether that is true."

Mr Lenku said he was unable to confirm whether there were any Britons or Americans involved, but said that 10 people were being held in connection with the attack.

Counter-claims

Flags flew at half mast across Kenya on Wednesday, as three days of national mourning began.

Alyaz Merali, who was injured in the attack, 25 September 2013

Somali Islamist group al-Shabab said it had carried out the attack in retaliation for Kenyan army operations in Somalia.

The militants stormed the Westgate centre on Saturday, throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately at shoppers and staff.

Twitter posts on an al-Shabab account said the group's militants had held 137 people hostage, and claimed the hostages had died after security forces fired chemical agents to end the siege.

The posts could not be verified. A government spokesman denied any chemical agents were used, and authorities called on Kenyans to ignore militant propaganda.

Both sides blamed the other for causing part of the shopping centre to collapse.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has repeatedly threatened attacks on Kenyan soil if Nairobi did not pull its troops out of Somalia.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia as part of an African Union force supporting Somali government forces.

Al-Shabab is fighting to create an Islamic state in Somalia.

 

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