US confirms citizen killed in Nairobi attack

A policeman runs past burning cars at the scene where explosions and gunshots were heard at the DusitD2 hotel compound in Nairobi. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: A US citizen was killed Tuesday in an attack by Islamist militants on an upmarket hotel and office complex in Nairobi, a US official said.

“We can confirm that a US citizen was killed in the attack. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of this individual,” a State Department official said.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined further details, citing respect for the privacy of the person’s family.

An AFP photographer in Nairobi saw the bodies of five victims and a police source said he had seen as many as 14 dead.

Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked Somali group that assaulted a Nairobi shopping mall in 2013, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the DusitD2 compound, which includes a 101-room hotel, spa, restaurant, and offices for local and international companies.

The United States commended Kenyan authorities and said it was providing unspecified assistance in the response.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terrible attack at the Dusit2 Hotel complex in Nairobi,” tweeted Bob Godec, the US ambassador in Nairobi.

“We offer our deepest condolences to all who have been affected by this horrifying violence,” he wrote.