Police respond to attack at Nairobi hotel

A hotel and office complex in Nairobi came under attack on Tuesday, with eyewitnesses reporting heavy gunfire and an explosion that sent black smoke rising over the scene in the Kenyan capital.

Footage on Kenya’s Citizen TV channel showed people streaming out of the complex, escorted by armed officers, as the sound of gunfire rang out. Cars in the complex could be seen aflame as a helicopter flew overhead.

Multiple law enforcement agencies including an anti-terror unit are responding to the scene on Riverside Drive in Nairobi’s affluent Westlands neighborhood, a police spokesman told local news outlets.

Somali Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab have claimed responsibility, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

“As we were leaving, there were gunshots all over the place,” Evans Ng’ong’a, who was inside the complex, told CNN. “Attackers jumped over the fence and started shooting after the explosion.”

Ng’ong’a shared videos and photos on Twitter showing an ongoing police operation.

“We have sent in a number of teams from the anti-terror unit and CID to give support to what is going,” Kenyan police spokesman Charles Owino said. “We have to assume that this is the highest possible type incident, so we are prepared.”

The attack has drawn immediate comparisons to the Westgate mall attack in Nairobi in 2013, when Al-Shabaab extremists launched a siege on a luxury shopping center.

Today marks the three-year anniversary of an Al-Shabaab attack on the El Adde military base which left over 140 Kenyan soldiers dead.


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