Revealed: How San Diego woman’s two friends died in Kenya mall massacre while she escaped with terrible shrapnel wounds opened fire Al-Qaeda-affiliated gunmen
- Elaine Dang, 26, was caught up in the initial attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Centre on Saturday afternoon
- She was pictured staggering away from the scene bloodied and shocked clutching her iPhone
- The restaurant manager lost two of her friends in the attack and is now recovering in hospital in the Kenyan capital after surgery to her chest, legs and arms
- Pictures released that reportedly show some of the terrorists who carried out the attack were released today
The San Diego woman wounded in the terror attack on a shopping mall in Kenya lost two of her friends her father revealed as the first chilling pictures of the heavily armed Al Shabaab extremists who carried out the attack was unearthed today by Kenyan journalists.
Pictured staggering away from Saturday’s initial onslaught on Nairobi’s Westgate mall covered in blood and gripping her iPhone, Elaine Dang, 26, has used social media and interviews with local Californian media to convey her relief and thanks to the Kenyan people.
Despite her grief, Dang, who is an online restaurant guide manager in the Kenyan capital, said, ‘I am recovering. Thank you for all the love and support—in Kenya and overseas. Terrorism knows no religion.’
Speaking briefly to San Diego’s CBS 8 from her hospital bed, Dang, who was spending the afternoon with co-workers at the mall when approximately 15 Al-Qaeda-affiliated gunmen opened fire, said that, ‘I’m okay, I’m very grateful to be alive.’
However, her father Steven said today that two of his daughter’s friends perished in the hail of bullets unleashed on unsuspecting shoppers at the upmarket mall.
Having required surgery to wounds in her chest, arms and legs following the terror outrage that has killed at least 62 people and injured over 170 more, including five Americans, Dang added that, ‘I’m also very grateful or the Kenyan people, everyone was so helpful and supportive.’
Dang works for Eat Out Kenya and a photograph that she posted to Twitter yesterday shows her in her hosptial room in Nairobi along with the message, ‘Proof that I am Ok – hanging out with some of my best friends in Nairobi’.
Using her Instagram account, Dang offered up heart-felt messages of thanks to her friends and family following her survival from the terror outrage, which according to Kenyan sources, could have been perpetrated by up to 15 terrorists, including three possible American citizens.
I am overwhelmed by all of the love and support from friends, family and professors!’ wrote Dang.
‘I will be OK, but please send your thoughts to so many injured, still held hostage. This incident has shown me people are amazing and in moments of true chaos – the impossible can happen.’
Having seen her photographed as one of dozens of stunned and shocked survivors outside the mall following the shooting, Dang’s father spoke to media outside his home to update them on his daughter’s progress.
Steven Dang told 10News he believes his daughter Elaine Dang suffered injuries to her chest, arm and leg.
‘The chest … something metal came in her chest and then the arm and the leg,’ he said.
Dang, 26, graduated from Torrey Pines High School. According to a LinkedIn profile in her name, she went on to UC Berkeley and then taught underperforming kids through Teach for America.
Asked what his emotions were when he first heard of his daughter being at the attack he said, ‘I cried and then I’m afraid….Scary, but I’m happy right now…she do OK.’
This comes as Mohammed Ali, Chief Investigations Editor at KTN, tweeted a picture of people that may be the attackers. It is CCTV footage of two men, carrying guns. They are not in army fatigues.
If indeed it is the terrorists, it is one of the first images of the deadly attack and carries haunting echoes of the terror attack carried out in Mumbai in 2008, which left over 160 dead and injured more than 600 people.
Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, General Julius Karangi, said fighters from several countries had participated in the attack, but would not specify which ones.
‘We have an idea who they are, their nationality and even the number,’ he said, adding that the militants were ‘clearly a multinational collection from all over the world’.
‘We have also have an idea that this is not a local event,’ he said. ‘We are fighting global terrorism here and we have sufficient [intelligence] to suggest that.’
At least three of the terrorists were killed, he added, after Kenyan forces moved into the five-story complex, which was filled with some 1,200 people when it was stormed by three heavily armed groups on Saturday.
Kenyans were last night bracing themselves for further terror attacks after it was claimed dozens more militants from the organization had bribed their way into the country.