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October 22, 2013

Sources: Somali Westgate Attacker Trained with Al-Shabab

by VOA News

Sources affiliated with militant group al-Shabab have identified one of the attackers in the deadly Kenya mall assualt as Yahya Ahmed Osman -- also known as "Arab" -- from the town of Buloburte in Somalia's Hiran region.

Sources told VOA's Somali Service that Osman appears to be the same attacker that Kenyan officials named as Omar Nabhan from the Kenyan city of Mombasa.  

An al-Shabab militant who says he trained with Osman said in an interview with VOA that Osman graduated from an al-Shabab training camp in the town of Balad in 2009.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the 25-year-old Osman was killed in the Westgate Mall attack and that his family has been informed of his death by al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Westgate attack, in which more than 60 civilians and six Kenyan soldiers were killed.

The group promised more such attacks unless Kenya withdraws the troops it sent to Somalia to combat al-Shabab.

Kenya has identified four suspects in the attack after initially saying 10 to 15 gunmen were involved.  

Authorities are still investigating the attack, amid accusations that soldiers looted shops during their operation to retake control of the mall.