JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli advisers are helping Kenya formulate a strategy to end a siege at a Nairobi shopping mall where Islamist militants have killed at least 59 people and are holding hostages, an Israeli security source said on Sunday.
“There are Israeli advisers helping with the negotiating strategy, but no Israelis involved in any imminent storming operation,” said the source, who declined to be identified.
The source said only a “handful” of Israelis, “purely in an advisory role”, were on scene at the upscale Westgate shopping center, which has several Israeli-owned outlets and is frequented by expatriates and Kenyans.
An Israeli source in Nairobi said all Israelis who were in the mall at the time of the attack had made it out safely, with the last three rescued overnight.
There were conflicting reports from other security sources in Nairobi about the part Israel was playing.
One Kenyan security source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that the Israeli military was involved in the operation, while a private security official also said they were helping comb the mall.
But the Kenyan Interior Minister insisted it was a national operation, despite offers of foreign support.
Reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Humphry Malalo, Richard Lough and Edmund Blair in Nairobi; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Louise Ireland