A British national is feared to be among at least 14 people killed in an attack on a luxury hotel complex in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Gunmen began the attack on Tuesday. Gunfire and explosions continued into Wednesday before President Uhury Kenyatta announced the siege had ended.
The UK Foreign Office said it was “in contact with the Kenyan authorities” and was “ready to assist as required”.
The Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab said it was behind the attack.
On Wednesday morning, President Kenyatta announced the assault was over, adding that the “terrorists” had been “eliminated” and more than 700 civilians had been evacuated to safety.
He said 14 people had been killed, but did not clarify whether the militants were included in that number.
However, the Kenyan Red Cross put the number of dead at 24.
A mortuary worker told Reuters news agency that a British man was among the casualties, while the US State Department said an American woman had also died.
Kenya’s president said: “We will seek out every person that was involved in the funding, planning and execution of this heinous act.
“We are a country governed by laws, rules and regulations – a country that embraces peaceful coexistence… I must also state that we are also a nation that never forgets those who hurt our children.”
The complex, which houses the DusitD2 hotel as well as offices, is in the Westlands district of the city.
How did the attack unfold?
The attack began at about 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT) when four gunmen threw bombs at vehicles in the car park before entering the lobby, where one blew himself up, police say.
A woman working in a neighbouring building told Reuters news agency: “I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives.”
Security camera footage showed at least four heavily armed men walking in and opening fire. There are reports they had been seen visiting the compound in recent days.
At 23:00, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said all the buildings in the complex had been secured by security forces.
“The situation is under control and the country is safe,” he told reporters. “Terrorism will never defeat us.”
But just an hour later gunfire and sporadic explosions were reported in the area. There was more heavy gunfire at about 07:00.
Security forces have been combing their way through the building where frightened workers had barricaded themselves inside. hiding under tables and chairs and in bathrooms.
In the early hours of Wednesday, more than 100 people were rescued. About 30 people are being treated at Nairobi hospitals, media reports say.
At 10:30 local time, President Kenyatta announced the siege had ended and all militants had been killed.