State Dept: 4 U.S. citizens injured in Kenya attack

State Dept: 4 U.S. citizens injured in Kenya attack

September 21st, 2013 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Civilians who had been hiding during the gun battle hold their hands in the air as a precautionary measure before being searched by armed police leading them to safety, inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire Saturday, killing at least 22 people in an attack targeting non-Muslims at an upscale mall in Kenya's capital that was hosting a children's day event, a Red Cross official and witnesses said.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON - Four American citizens were reported injured in the Saturday attack on a shopping mall in Kenya. The wife of a foreign service national working for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed, U.S. officials said.

Kenyan officials said the assault on Nairobi's top shopping mall killed at least 39 people and wounded more than 150 others. Somalia's Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility.

No details about the injured Americans were released by the State Department, which cited privacy concerns. Consular officers were in contact with the injured and were providing appropriate assistance, a State Department official said.

Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack "a heartbreaking reminder that there exists unspeakable evil in our world which can destroy life in a senseless instant."

"Attacks like this can't change who we are, a people committed to peace and justice for all, but rather must reaffirm our determination to counter extremism and promote tolerance everywhere," Kerr said in a statement. "As we prepare to bring the world's leaders together at the United Nations next week, we are reminded again in tragedy of our common humanity."

Noting the death of the wife of the USAID worker, Kerry commended agency workers for their efforts around the world and said the U.S. pledged "our commitment to do whatever we can to assist in bringing the perpetrators of this abhorrent violence to justice, and to continue our efforts to improve the lives of people across the globe."

In a statement from the White House, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council said the U.S. would help bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

"We will continue to stand with the Kenyan people in their efforts to confront terrorism in all its forms, including the threat posed by al-Shabaab," NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. "This cowardly act against innocent civilians will not shake our resolve."