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News Wrap: Death toll from Kenya hotel attack rises to 21

In our Wednesday news wrap, the death toll from Tuesday’s attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, climbed to 21. The Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying it was retaliating for the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Also, in Zimbabwe, police are cracking down as violent protests erupt over spiking fuel costs amidst an economic crisis.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Four Americans, two soldiers and two civilians were killed in Northern Syria.

    The Islamic State claimed one of its suicide bombers attacked a patrol in Manbij. Just last month, President Trump announced that U.S. forces will be leaving Syria. We will look at today's attack and its implications after the news summary.

    The death toll in Kenya climbed to 21 today, including one American, in Tuesday's attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi. Five Al-Shabaab attackers, based in Somalia, also died. The group said that it was retaliation against the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    John Ray of Independent Television News reports.

  • John Ray:

    It's taken the best part of a day and much spilled blood for the Kenyans to reconquer this corner of their capital. Twice, they called the all-clear, only to be contradicted by the muffled sounds of battle.

  • Uhuru Kenyatta:

    We are grieving as a country this morning, and my heart and that of every Kenyan goes out to the innocent men and women violated by senseless violence.

  • John Ray:

    For some, the costs are unbearable. This is the mortuary where they come to claim the dead. This woman lost her husband and her two young children, their father.

  • Lillian Aketch:

    One of the terrorists shot him at the back of the head.

  • John Ray:

    He had no chance?

  • Lillian Aketch:

    No, he had no chance.

  • John Ray:

    Mohamud's cousin died, so too a work colleague, as he ran from the terrorists' advance.

  • Mohamud Yassin Juma:

    We heard the gunshots that were very close. They were coming closer and closer.

  • John Ray:

    And the explosions?

  • Mohamud Yassin Juma:

    The explosions, definitely. It was very loud, and we could hear it, very intense.

  • John Ray:

    The silent images of the gunmen caught yesterday on security cameras somehow amplify the horror. Beyond the security cordon, there is a crime scene and all the evidence that Kenyans need to know that Al-Shabaab is back in brutal business, striking at one of Nairobi's wealthiest and best defended suburbs.

    In all, 700 people walked free of Al-Shabaab's death trap. Reunions that had seemed impossible and tales of miraculous escape late into the night.

  • Woman:

    And at one point, she was like, "Please tell me I'm getting out of here alive," and I think that was just my breaking point.

  • John Ray:

    But, today, they're burying the dead and the fearful shadow of terror has returned.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from John Ray of Independent Television News.

    A crackdown has begun in Zimbabwe, amid violent protests over the government doubling fuel prices. Officials say police have arrested more than 600 people. In the capital city, Harare, they also seized an activist pastor at his home today. He's accused of inciting public violence through social media. The fuel price hike adds to an economic crisis that includes unemployment above 80 percent.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament today, but it was close. The vote was just 325 to 306 in May's favor. It came one day after Parliament soundly rejected her Brexit deal.

    After today's vote, May said she's eager to get back to work on a Brexit plan B. Later, she made an appeal to members of Parliament.

  • Theresa May:

    Now M.P.s have made clear what they don't want, we must all work constructively together to set out what Parliament does want.

    That's why I'm inviting M.P.s from all parties to come together to find a way forward, one that both delivers on the referendum and can command the support of Parliament. This is now the time to put self-interest aside.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Britain is now due to leave the European Union on March 29.

    Iran says the United States has detained an American-born journalist who works for Iranian state TV. Today's announcement said that Marzieh Hashemi was arrested shortly after landing at the Saint Louis International Airport on Sunday. The FBI had no immediate comment, but the reported arrest came after Iran confirmed that it has detained a U.S. Navy veteran.

    A federal watchdog is urging a full review of the decision to let President Trump keep his lease on a government building that houses his Washington hotel. The inspector general of the General Services Administration says the agency has — quote — "ignored concerns" that the deal might violate the Constitution. The Emoluments Clause bars presidents from taking payments from foreign government or from U.S. states.

    The White House today denounced Congressman Steve King over his comments on white supremacy. The Iowa Republican had questioned why such terms are offensive. President Trump has not directly voiced an opinion about King's remarks, but, today, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called the comments abhorrent. King has denied that he is racist.

    New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is the latest Democrat to say she's running for president in 2020. She announced last night, joining at least five others already in the race. Gillibrand has been outspoken in fighting sexual harassment, sexual assault in the military and equal pay.

    And on Wall Street, strong earnings by big banks pushed stocks a little higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 141 points to close at 24207. The Nasdaq rose 10 points, and the S&P 500 added five.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": an attack in Northern Syria kills American troops; two freshman Congress members learn the ropes on Capitol Hill; as the president's nominee to head the EPA faces questions, we take a look at the shutdown's effect on the agency; and much more.

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