Israel aids Kenyan rescue efforts for Nairobi mall attack

(JNS.org) Israel helped Kenya with rescue efforts in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi over the weekend, which left more than 60 people dead and more than 200 injured, as well as 30 people held hostage by the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabab from Somalia. By Monday afternoon, Kenyan forces said they took control of the mall.

The Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, site of a terrorist attack over the weekend. Credit: Rotsee via Wikimedia Commons.

Reuters reported that Israeli advisers helped Kenya negotiate with the terrorists to end the siege on the mall, and an anonymous security source told AFP, “The Israelis have just entered and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured.”

Yariv Kedar—who has been living in Nairobi for the past seven years and is the vice chairman of Amiran Kenya Ltd., an Israeli agriculture company—was inside the Westgate mall when the terrorist attack began on Saturday, and told Israel Hayom, “All of a sudden I heard the sounds of large explosions and shooting from every direction. A group of motorcyclists were at the entrance to the mall and started shooting wildly toward the entrance.”

Kedar, 53, was holding a business meeting with a Kenyan local at one of the Nairobi mall’s cafes. Westgate mall has four Israeli-owned restaurants, each employing Israelis.

“The entire time I was thinking of how to get myself out of that hell,” Kedar said. “I understood it was a terrorist attack and not a robbery, and I decided to hide my Israeli identity—documents, driver’s license, passport, ID, etc. I managed to call several senior Israeli representatives with my cell phone and tell them what was happening.”

Posted on September 22, 2013 .