Kenyan Mall-Attack Death Toll Climbs as Bodies Found in Rubble

Kenyan police found two more bodies while searching through the rubble at a shopping mall in the capital, raising the death toll from an attack by Islamist gunmen that killed at least 67 civilians and security personnel.

The police have yet to determine the identity of the remains, police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki said in a phone interview today from Nairobi. Kenyan newspapers including the Standard and People reported today that the remains of at least eight people were found at the scene of the Sept. 21 raid. Four empty magazine cartridges from an automatic weapon were also found at the scene, Mboroki said.

The death toll has risen “because these are newly found bodies,” Mboroki said. “At this juncture we cannot verify the identities of the bodies.”

The four-day raid on the mall was the deadliest since al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in downtown Nairobi 15 years ago, killing more than 200 people. Al-Shabaab, a militia that’s been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia since at least 2006, claimed responsibility for the latest attack. The group warned of more bloodshed unless Kenya withdraws its forces from southern Somalia, where they have liberated territory previously controlled by the fighters.

As many as 15 gunmen were involved in the attack and five were killed, according to the Interior Ministry. A forensic investigation at the mall, in which three floors of the four-story building collapsed, will take seven days, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said on Sept. 25.

A commission of inquiry is examining how Kenya failed to detect the planning for the attack and is preparing measures to avoid a similar incident in the future, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said yesterday.

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