Israeli counter-terrorism experts were on hand to advise the Kenyan security forces facing the Al Shabaab terrorists who killed over 60 people at a shopping mall in Nairobi this week.
Israel and Kenya agreed in 2011 to exchange intelligence and security know-how in an attempt to help Kenya face the threat posed by the Somali group that in February 2012 officially joined al-Qaeda. The Kenyan army has been fighting to restore order in Somalia and has succeeded in pushing Al Shabaab out of the capital of Mogadishu and other Somali cities. In retaliation, Al Shabaab promised to attack Kenyan targets.
Following the attack on the Westgate mall — which began on Saturday morning — and the ongoing siege there, Israel dispatched a team of advisers to Nairobi. The group, which arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning, included experts on bomb-disposal, negotiating and counter-terrorism.
They were joined by American advisers.
No official Kenyan or Israeli spokespersons would confirm the experts’ presence. However, security sources denied reports that Israeli personnel had taken part in the storming of the mall.
At the time of writing, 62 people, including at least four British citizens, are known to have died in the attack.