Report: Israeli advisors helping Kenyan authorities in Nairobi mall standoff

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security advisors are assisting Kenya in ending a terrorist siege on a Nairobi shopping mall, according to reports.

Citing an unidentified Israel security source, Reuters reported that Israeli advisers are helping with negotiation strategy but are not involved in “any imminent storming operation.”


At least 59 people are confirmed dead and 175 injured in the attack which began on Saturday in the upscale, five-story Westgate mall.

The attack took place near the ArtCaffe, an Israeli-owned coffee shop and bakery located on the ground floor that is popular with foreigners, according Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One Israeli was injured and three others escaped harm, a spokeswoman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry told the New York Times. She said that Israelis had not been specifically targeted. “This time, the story is not about Israel,” she told the Times.

Four Americans were injured in the attack and none are believed to be killed, according to the U.S. State Department.

Yariv Keidar, an employee of the Israeli-owned Amiran company based in Nairobi, told the Ynet news website that he and his Israeli co-worker hid his passport and his work papers that identified him as Israeli so that if they were caught by Islamist terrorists they would not get kidnapped or hurt because they were Israeli.

The Shabab, a Somalia-based Islamist militant group based in Somalia and linked to Al-Qaida, took responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Kenya’s military operations in Somalia, which began nearly two years ago, according to the New York Times.

An Al-Qaida attack in 1998 killed more than 200 people and destroyed the Nairobi-based American Embassy. An Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya was attacked by Islamic terrorists in 2002.