The 21st Century Phenomenon


A group of between 10 and 15 attackers opened fire and executed people after they threw grenades into Westgate shopping mall, in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, at midday, on Saturday 09/21/2013, what became known as the Westgate Siege


 * One attacker was Dutch and another British, Kenya State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu told CNN on Wednesday 09/25/2013. A senior Kenyan official said forces were able to drive two attackers trying to escape by car back inside the mall, but it’s unclear if any others might have been able to elude authorities early in the crisis. Others could have escaped by posing as civilians, perhaps after ditching weapons and changing clothes. 


* The Interpol has issued, on 09/26/2013, a so-called “red notice” to 190 countries to make them “aware of the danger posed by this woman” (Samantha Lewthwaite). The move, which came at the request of the Kenyan authorities, added to the suspicions over whether she was involved in the Westgate Siege in Nairobi.  According to the Interpol she also uses a fack passport under the name Natalie Webb.
* Security sources in Kenya has revealed the Westgate gunmen were able to breach security and used fake IDs supplied by corrupt government officials. They used the fake Ids to hire a shop in the Westgate Mall in the weeks leading up to the siege, This gave them access to service lifts at Westgate enabling them to stockpile weapons and ammunition. They are also believed to have set up a base using a ventilation shaft as a hiding place, on the first floor. 
Two vehicles dropped the Islamist extremists off outside before they forced their way into the mall, sources say. Having pre-positioned weapons they were able to re-arm quickly and repel the security forces. Security sources have, indeed, confirmed a change of tack by the militants late on Saturday. They rolled out heavy machine guns, exploiting the moment when control of the security operation switched from the police to the military which was fraught with confusion, BBC and CNN reported on Friday 09/26/2013.  


* Kenyan officials said, on Friday 09/27/2013, investigators have recovered a vehicle believed to have been used by the terrorists who attacked Nairobi’s Westgate Mall. Also on Friday 3 of the 11 suspects arrested over possible link to the attack were released without any restrictions.


* According to Kenyan newspaper Cabinet ministers and Kenya’s army chief had received information warning of a plan to carry out a major attack, the Daily Nation said, on 09/28/2013, quoting a leaked intelligence report. The report also said Israel, which has close security ties with Kenya, had warned of plans to attack Israeli property in September, a month which included several Jewish holidays. “The Israeli embassy in Nairobi has raised concern with the foreign affairs ministry that Iran and Hezbollah from Lebanon have been collecting operational intelligence and open interests in Israeli and Jewish targets around the world including Kenya,” the report said. 


It must be mentioned that Israel is monitoring very closely Hizbullah activity all over the world but has only limited knowledge about al-Shabab. The Israeli warning was specifically against Hizbullah and is issued, almost automatically, in countries where Hizbullah is active ahead of Jewish Holiday season in September. It is most likely that the Israeli alert was a coincidence and did not refer to al-Shabab and this specific Westgate attack (see also – Arrests 06.22.12 ). 

* Four people were killed, on Friday 10/04/2013, in Kenya in riots that broke out after gunmen murdered a Muslim preacher Sheikh Ibrahim Amor (pic) and three others associated with an assassinated recruiter for the Somali Islamist group, al-Shabab, the police and Kenya Red Cross said. Sheikh Ibrahim Amor was the Imam of the Musa mosque and the successor of Aboud Rogo Mohammed. The Salvation Army church in the neighborhood was set ablaze by the demonstrators in response (see also – Nairobi 09.30.12 ).

** Kenya’s military spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir, has confirmed, on Saturday 10/05/2013, the names of the four fighters implicated in the attack on the upscale Westgate Mall as Abu Baara al-SUdani (from Sudan), Omar Nabhan, Khattab al-Kene (from Kenya) and Umayr, names that were first broadcast by a local Kenyan television station. The identities of the men come as a private television station in Nairobi obtained and broadcast the from the Nairobi mall. The video released covers only one part of the mall and was taken around five hours into the 80-hour siege, shows only four men. Omar Nabhan, a Kenyan of Arab origin, was born in Mombasa and traveled to Somalia with his uncle at the age of 16, the spokesman said. 

Matt Bryden, the former head of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, told the AP via email that Khattab al-Kene and Umayr are known members of al-Hijra, the Kenyan arm of al-Shabab. He added that Nabhan may be a relative of Saleh Ali Nabhan

“From what we have now that is coming out of the investigation, the number of attackers was between four to six,” police chief David Kimaiyo told Kenyan television station KTN, contradicting earlier assessments of about 15 perpetrators. 

“None of them managed to escape from the building after the attack,” he said, implying that they were killed in the confrontation.  

David Kimaiyo confirmed that wanted British “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite – reported to have been one of the attackers – was not involved. 

Omar Nabhan was seen in the footage chatting on a mobile phone, suggesting either coordination with attackers inside the mall or even to commanders outside or in Somalia. Indeed al-Shabab issued a running commentary throughout the attack via various Twitter accounts, claiming to be in contact with the fighters inside the mall. It could provide key clues for detectives, not least because the supermarket area – where the footage was shot – was later engulfed in a fierce blaze.  


* The same night, on 10/05/2013, a group of “white Western forces” who arrived in boats attacked a house in the coastal Somali town of Barawe intended to seize Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir, alias Ikrima, probably the chief facilitator of the Westgate Siege, who boasts connections to both al-Shabab in Somalia and to a Kenyan Jihadist group al-Hijra (see – Barawe 10.05.13 ). 


* Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a 23-year-old Norwegian citizen of Somali origin, who arrived to Norway in 1999 as a refugee, is suspected of helping to plan and carry out the attack, according to the Kenyan police, on 10/18/2013, as they released security camera’s footage from inside Westgate shows terrorists casually gunning down innocent shoppers. He is being investigated by Norwegian police over the attack. A relative of Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow in Norway said he left the town of Larvik for Somalia in 2009 (see also – Osman A. Abdi ).


Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow is believed to be one of the four identified by security cameras in the mall and probably is the one named as Umayr. Last week, officers from Norway’s intelligence agency PST traveled to Kenya in a bid to verify reports that a citizen had been involved in the Westgate Attack.

** Kenyan police said, on Tuesday 10/29/2013, they are holding five people over the Westgate attack. Ndegwa Muhoro, head of Kenya’s Police Criminal Investigation Department, told reporters that investigations were still ongoing into exchanges of SMS text messages in the days prior to the Westgate siege. Detectives are continuing to investigate a possible link to Norway, Muhoro said, noting that a telephone call was made to the country from the mall during the attack. 

Chief Ndegwa Muhoro added that some of the massacre suspects were arrested in Kenya’s northwestern desert refugee camp of Kakuma, a vast settlement home to over 125,000 refugees from across the region, including Somalia. 

All gunmen including a Norwegian citizen, totalling just four, not the dozen that security forces had initially reported, are understood to have died during the attack. 

A day earlier, on Monday 10/28/2013, USA UAV drones killed in a missiles attack in Southern Somalia’s Juba region Ibrahim Ali, considered to be al-Shabab chief explosives and bombs expert. 


The New York Police Department own in-depth analysis of the Westgate Attack they debunked much of what Kenyan authorities claim and doubt the 4 terrorists died in the collapsing building.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told media, on 12/10/2013, his investigators did not know “with certainty” how many people were involved, “but we believe there were only four shooters ” acted in teams of two, coordinating their movements via mobile phone.

The NYPD says a review of video footage and ballistics evidence shows they were carrying only “light” weapons such as AK-47 rifles and grenades. While carrying hundreds of rounds of ammunition in magazines strapped to their bodies, the NYPD says the attackers were not wearing any form of body armor or carrying handguns. There were no heavy explosions. Smoke screens had not been created by setting mattresses and other materials on fire they said. 

According to the NYPD confusion reigned as police – wearing no identification or markings – entered the complex, fully armed. They were quickly fired upon by Kenyan soldiers who had also been summoned to the scene. Among the dead was the police tactical response team’s commander. The terrorists sought to kill as many as they could and took no hostages. Only those who were able to recite Muslim prayers – and in once instance name the Prophet Mohammed’s mother – were allowed to go free. 

The gunbattle to clear the mall lasted three days. But there is no evidence the terrorists were there beyond the first 12 hours. NYPD investigations indicate at least one of the attackers was wounded in the leg. But the fighters systematically destroyed CCTV cameras in order to cover their movements. 

The actual attack only lasted six hours. After this, the NYPD report says the terrorists hid in a storeroom. Here, they prayed and tended to their wounded comrade. There is no evidence any attacker remained in the mall after 12:15am on September 22, the NYPD says. 


* Adan Garar, a senior al-Shabab operative and one of the mastermind of the Westgate attack.  and two others are suspected to have been killed in Thursday 03/12/2015 UAV missiles  attack after their car was targeted near the town of Bardhere, in Southern Somalia the Kenyan and US officials said on Friday 03/13/2016. .Adan Garar is also suspected of planning failed attacks on Kenya’s coast and in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, last year.

— On Saturday 02/21/2015 al-Shabab released a video calling for attacks on shopping malls in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The video, released by the Somalia-based group’s official media wing, It mentioned specifically  Minnesota’s Mall of America, where a large Somali community is living (see – Minneapolis Network ).


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