The gunmen appear calm, almost nonchalant as they saunter through a Kenyan shopping mall firing automatic rifles. Terrified shoppers dive for cover as bullets streak by.
Security camera video obtained by
During hours of video from the first day of a four-day siege, only four attackers are seen, all of them men, CNN reported.
A man lying in a pool of blood attempts to crawl to safety. A gunman shoots him again.
A woman pushing an injured child in a shopping cart is herded away with other hostages, including two children and a teenage girl with blood on her shirt. [CNN reported that they were all later released.]
In between searching for victims, the attackers are seen talking on their cellphones and kneeling in prayer. The Shabab, the Somali militant group that claimed responsibility for the attack, tweeted at the time that it was in contact with the gunmen as they battled Kenyan security forces.
Although the details provided by Kenyan officials have varied, they initially reported that as many as 15 gunmen may have taken part in the attack, five of whom were killed. The video appears to raise questions about the official accounts.
There were also reports of the possible involvement of a British woman. At Kenya's request,
As reported by the Los Angeles Times's South Africa bureau chief,
"A high-profile attack like this is very useful for a terrorist group like Al Shabab," J. Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, told Dixon. "It has certainly now raised its profile, and that will help with both recruiting and finances."
Dixon writes: "The attack, in which some Muslims were spared, was also designed to send a powerful message to Al Qaeda's leadership and the shadowy funders of global terrorism that Godane and the Shabab are disciplined, effective fighters who can be relied on as the vanguard of militancy in East Africa, analysts said."