Kenyan officials say assault to end siege begins

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Kenyan police say a "major" assault by security forces has begun to end the two-day hostage crisis at a Nairobi mall, in which 68 people have died.

Kenya's Disaster Operation Center said late Sunday that "this will end tonight. Our forces will prevail."

Word of the Kenyan assault comes shortly after a large blast echoed from the mall, around the start of the operation.

Before the assault two helicopters hovered over the mall, skimming the roof. Al-Shabab militants reacted angrily to the helicopters on Twitter and said the Kenyan military action was endangering hostages.

Accoding to reports from CNN, one of the suspects in the attack is Gen. Mustafe Noorudiin, who has ties to Kansas City. According to the reports, two more of the suspects are from Minnesota. The Associated Press has contradicted these reports.

Kenya's Red Cross says the death toll from the militant attack on an upscale mall in the country's capital has risen to 68.

In a statement Sunday the Red Cross said nine more bodies were recovered in a joint rescue mission. Officials say more than 175 people were wounded in the attack.

President Barack Obama has phoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to express the United States' condolences after a terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.

The White House said Sunday that Obama also told Kenyatta the United States supports his country's effort to bring the al-Shabab network of Islamic extremists to justice for the deadly attack.

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