Kenyan foreign minister Amina Mohamed has confirmed that up to three of the terrorists who attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, are American teenagers.
The public official identified the U.S. citizens as 18- or 19-year-olds of Somali or Arab origin, according to the Daily Mail.
They are believed to be from Minnesota and one other unidentified location in the U.S., which has been reported as Kansas City, Missouri.
One British citizen has also been reported as being involved in the standoff situation, according to CBS, which is currently on its fourth day. Some intelligence sources believe Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of a 7/7 bomber, is the Briton in question.
Al-Shabab, a group known for its alliance with al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack through its Twitter account, according to Fox News. Their accounts continue to be suspended by Twitter, but more accounts under similar names pop up shortly after.
The Kenyan government and al-Shabab are also in a continual propaganda war on Twitter over the status of the situation at the mall. Each side claims to have the situation under control.
The enemy will continue spewing out propaganda to ensure that we fail as they want us to. Let us ignore such and focus on what is clear.
— Kenya Police (@PoliceKE) September 24, 2013
According to CNN, at least 62 people have been killed and scores more injured. It’s currently unclear whether any hostages remain inside the mall. Additionally, at least 10 attackers have been killed, according to USA Today.
The FBI has concerned that al-Shabab has been recruiting young Somali-Americans in Minnesota, which house the biggest Somali population in the U.S. Authorities believe they are using violent propaganda videos to glorify terrorism, according to the Daily Mail. They also report that at least 20 Minnesota-based Somali-Americans are known to have left to join the terrorist group in Africa.
“It is troubling, because it uses the medium of video to romanticize what it is to go to Somalia and fight,” said Kyle Loven of the FBI. “And it’s appealing, unfortunately, to some young men here in Minneapolis.”