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Kenyan Government Claims End to Deadly al-Shabab Mall Siege

September 24, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Our lead story tonight, the president of Kenya proclaimed victory in the bloody siege of a shopping mall in Nairobi. He put the death toll at 72, but the Islamist attackers disputed his account.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta declared tonight that security forces had shamed and defeated the militants who stormed Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall.

PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA, Kenya: Towards the tail end of the operation, three floors of the Westgate Mall collapsed and there are several bodies still trapped in the rubble, including the terrorists.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Kenyatta’s address followed another day of conflicting reports of the status of the standoff and of the remaining hostages, if any.

Earlier, the Somali group al-Shabab linked to al-Qaida had released a photo of two fighters it said were still inside the mall. At the time, the group insisted the attackers still held hostages. Also earlier, gunshots could be heard at the mall complex as soldiers circled outside. And smoke again billowed from the building.