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Al-Shabab claims Nairobi attack was retaliation for Trump's Jerusalem move

Armed group says attack was a 'response to the witless remarks of the US president' and his declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
The assault, in which the attackers used guns and explosives, claimed the lives of 21 people in the complex (AFP)

The Somali armed group al-Shabab has said it carried out a deadly attack on a Nairobi hotel and office complex on Tuesday in retaliation for US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the SITE monitoring group said.

The militant group, which operates across East Africa and in Yemen, said in a statement on Wednesday that its fighters stormed the DusitD2 complex on instructions from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The statement was picked up by SITE. 

"It is a response to the witless remarks of the US president, Donald Trump, and his declaration of al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the capital of Israel."

The assault, in which the attackers used guns and explosives, claimed the lives of 21 people in the complex, which includes a 101-room hotel, spa, restaurant and offices.

All five of the assailants were killed before an operation by security forces to rescue trapped civilians and clear buildings ended 20 hours later, the AFP news agency reported.

The al-Shabab statement was entitled: "Al-Quds will never be Judaized," according to SITE.

"Know that we will hold you to account for every Muslim blood spilt in Palestine; ounce for ounce," it said in part.

On Wednesday, it emerged that a US man who was among those killed at the complex was a consultant who survived the 9/11 attacks on the US, and specialised in emerging economies.

Al-Shabab has been affiliated with al-Qaeda since 2012 when its former leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, pledged allegiance to Zawahiri. Gobdane was killed in a 2014 US drone strike and the group is now led by Ahmad Umar, also known as Abu Ubaidah.