UK & World News
Kenya Siege: Heavy Gunfire Heard Inside Mall
Heavy bursts of gunfire have been heard from inside a Nairobi shopping centre as Kenyan soldiers fight with terrorists to rescue hostages.
At least 10 hostages remain inside the mall on the fourth day of the siege in which 62 people have been killed, including six Britons - among them an eight-year-old girl.
Medics who have been inside the complex warned that the numbers of dead are significantly greater than have been confirmed, and the city morgue is preparing for the arrival of a large number of bodies.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is currently making an announcement to the nation.
He declared three days of national mourning.
In a new Twitter feed claiming to be run by Somalia's al Qaeda-linked rebel group, al Shabaab, a post said that "the mujahideen are still holding their ground".
It warned "there are countless number of dead bodies still scattered inside the mall" and said it was "far greater than how the Kenyans perceive it".
Another post said that they were still holding hostages who were "still alive looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive".
In an audio broadcast on a pro-militant website, the al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rage threatened that unless Kenya pulled its troops out of Somalia it could expect further terror attacks.
The Kenyan police responded with a Twitter message in which it told people to ignore enemy propaganda and said: "Troops now in mop up operations in the building. More to follow. Be calm."
They also said that they had been defusing bombs set up by the militants inside the mall, as part of the building's roof has now collapsed.
The army has confirmed that three soldiers have been killed in the fighting.
The Kenyan government insisted early on Tuesday that it was "in control" of the mall and that all hostages trapped by the attackers had been evacuated.
Government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said: "Our special forces are inside the building checking the rooms. Obviously it's a very, very big building.
"We think that everyone, the hostages, have been evacuated but we don't want to take any chances. The special forces are doing their job and yes, I think we are near the end."
Sky News Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay said: "The government has said it's all over ? but that seems to conflict with what we are hearing both from the military sources here - one of them told me that there were at least maybe two gunmen still holed up - and indeed al Shabaab itself."
He said that he had spoken to a medic who had been inside the building and they had said the numbers of dead were "huge" and warned that the official figures would rise.
The developments came as Kenya's Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said that a British woman and two or three Americans were among those who had attacked the centre.
Her comments have led to increasing speculation that the Briton could be the 29-year-old widow of the 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, Samantha Lewthwaite.
However, a leading terrorism expert has said her involvement is unlikely and al Shabaab has denied the claim that Britons and Americans are involved.
The extremists also appeared to verify a picture that has been circulating on the internet claiming to be taken from the shopping centre CCTV and showing the gunmen.
The two figures in the picture are seen in black headscarves, ambling past a children's sweet stall in the mall.
According to Sky News sources, the British military is now giving assistance to Kenyan forces at the mall and has offered further assistance.
On Monday, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "As the Prime Minister made clear, we have said we will provide them with any assistance which they request. We haven't yet been asked to provide any assistance beyond broad background advice."
Barack Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, said the United States stood with Kenyans against "this terrible outrage".
The atrocity is the worst in Nairobi since an al Qaeda bomb attack on the US embassy in 1998 that killed more than 200 people.
:: The Kenyan Red Cross has set up a webpage for anyone worried about friends or relatives who might be caught up in the siege.
:: A helpline has been set up for people in the UK who are concerned about relatives in Kenya: 020 7008 000.