An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

September 22, 2013

* At the request of the Kenyan government “Israeli special forces now operating to try and end Nairobi Mall siege”.

* Among those killed yesterday in the siege was a Canadian diplomat, the Kenyan president’s nephew and his fiancée, and Ghana’s leading poet. Three British, two French, one Australian and one Chinese citizen are also confirmed dead.

* British and American citizens said to be among the gunmen.


Kenyan soldiers take up positions outside the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi

A child runs to safety across the shopping mall

People scramble for safety as the terrorists open fire



[Note by Tom Gross]

Since these “Middle East dispatches” often include depressing news, I try to send some more positive items too, sometimes unconnected to the Middle East.

This three minute advertisement produced on behalf of a Thai telecommunications company, titled “Giving,” tells the story of a man unexpectedly rewarded for a lifetime of good deeds he performed without expecting anything in return.

It is worth watching, here:



According to Agence France Presse (AFP), at the request of the Kenyan government, Israeli Special Forces are now helping Kenyan forces try to end the on-going terrorist siege at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, where Islamist gunmen (and one gunwoman) have been holed up for over 24 hours with about 30 hostages.

A Kenyan security source told AFP that Israeli forces have now entered the mall, at the request of their Kenyan counterparts to help rescue the hostages and bring out the injured.

Reuters differs from AFP, reporting that Israeli anti-terrorism experts were helping in negotiations, but would not participate in operations.

At least 62 people were killed and 175 injured yesterday in the coordinated attack by the Somali al-Shabab movement. Those escaping said the terrorists first separated Muslims from non-Muslims before beginning to execute the non-Muslims. Men, women and children were shot if they could not recite the Koran or name the Prophet Mohammed’s mother. Among those killed was a Canadian diplomat, the Kenyan president’s nephew and his fiancé, and Ghana’s leading poet.

Al Shabab claimed that two British men from London, Liban Adam, 23, and Ahmed Nasir Shirdoon, 24, were among the ‘holy warriors’ participating in the attack. The gunmen are said to be highly organized, with large amounts of ammunition as well as night vision equipment. They have destroyed CCTV cameras inside the shopping mall, meaning they cannot be watched.

There are about 4,000 Kenyan troops in the south of Somalia, where they have been fighting Islamic militants since 2011.


Tom Gross adds:

Kenya and Israel have long enjoyed close relations, particularly in the security sphere. Kenya assisted Israel with refueling and in other ways during the daring Israeli raid in 1976 to free Israeli and Jewish hostages in Entebbe, Uganda (in which the current Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brother was killed).

Last month, Kenya asked Mossad agents (together with American ones) to investigate whether the massive fire at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi was a terrorist attack.

In 2002, terrorists in Mombasa blew up an Israeli-owned hotel and tried to shoot down an Israeli passenger plane as it was taking off. I covered the aftermath of those attacks in several dispatches, including this one.

A security worker takes a child to safety, left, while, right, paramedics help an injured victim at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi yesterday

A crowd of people hold their arms out to catch a woman as she jumps out from the air vent where she had been hiding from the gunmen

Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:

* Video dispatch 1: The Lady In Number 6

* Video dispatch 2: Iran: Zuckerberg created Facebook on behalf of the Mossad

* Video dispatch 3: Vladimir Putin sings “Blueberry Hill” (& opera in the mall)

* Video dispatch 4: While some choose boycotts, others choose “Life”

* Video dispatch 5: A Jewish tune with a universal appeal

* Video dispatch 6: Carrying out acts of terror is nothing new for the Assad family

* Video dispatch 7: A brave woman stands up to the Imam (& Cheering Bin Laden in London)

* Video dispatch 8: Syrians burn Iranian and Russian Flags (not Israeli and U.S. ones)

* Video Dispatch 9: “The one state solution for a better Middle East...”

* Video dispatch 10: British TV discovers the next revolutionary wave of Israeli technology

* Video dispatch 11: “Freedom, Freedom!” How some foreign media are reporting the truth about Syria

* Video dispatch 12: All I want for Christmas is...

* Video dispatch 13: “Amazing Israeli innovations Obama will see (& Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz!)

* Video dispatch 14: Jon Stewart under fire in Egypt (& Kid President meets Real President)

* Video dispatch 15: A rare 1945 BBC recording: Survivors in Belsen sing Hatikvah (& “No Place on Earth”)

* Video dispatch 16: Joshua Prager: “In search for the man who broke my neck”

* Video dispatch 17: Pushback against the “dictator Erdogan” - Videos from the “Turkish summer”

* Video dispatch 18: Syrian refugees: “May God bless Israel”

* Video dispatch 19: An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’)

* Video dispatch 20: No Woman, No Drive: First stirrings of Saudi democracy?

* Video dispatch 21: Al-Jazeera: Why can’t Arab armies be more humane like Israel’s?

* Video dispatch 22: Jerusalem. Tel Aviv. Beirut. Happy.

* Video dispatch 23: A nice moment in the afternoon

* Video dispatch 24: How The Simpsons were behind the Arab Spring

* Video dispatch 25: Iranians and Israelis enjoy World Cup love-in (& U.S. Soccer Guide)

* Video dispatch 26: Intensifying conflict as more rockets aimed at Tel Aviv

* Video dispatch 27: Debating the media coverage of the current Hamas-Israel conflict

* Video dispatch 28: CNN asks Hamas: “Do you really believe Jews slaughter Christians?” (& other items)

* Video dispatch 29: “Fighting terror by day, supermodels by night” (& Sign of the times)

* Video dispatch 30: How to play chess when you’re an ISIS prisoner (& Escape from Boko Haram)

* Video dispatch 31: Incitement to kill

* Video Dispatch 32: Bibi to BBC: “Are we living on the same planet?” (& other videos)

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.