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Kenyan troops clearing stormed mall
Ross Langdon and his partner Elif Yavuz have been identified as two of the victims of a terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya (AP/AAP Image)
Kenyan troops are said to be in the final stages of clearing the Nairobi shopping mall stormed by Islamist militants as a fourth Briton was confirmed among the dead.
Police said that three terrorists had been killed and others injured as security forces moved into the Westgate complex in an attempt to bring the three-day stand-off to an end. Eleven soldiers from the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) were also wounded in the fighting.
The official Kenyan police Twitter feed reported that more than 200 civilians had been rescued as troops took control of all the floors of the mall.
"Chances of any terrorists sneaking and escaping are very slim. KDF troops have sealed all possible escape routes," it said. "Fire started in the building by the terrorists to distract the ongoing operation is being managed by fire fighters from different agencies." The Kenyan authorities have said that 62 civilians have now been confirmed dead while 65 people were receiving treatment in hospital.
The Foreign Office confirmed that four British nationals were now known to be among the dead - who also included foreigners from France, the Netherlands, South Africa, Ghana, the United States and Canada. None of the Britons have been identified officially although one has been named in reports as Ross Langdon, who had dual nationality with Australia.
Earlier in London, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee, with David Cameron set to return to the capital to chair a second meeting later.
Mr Hammond reiterated the Government's offer of help to the Kenyan authorities. He said: "We're in close touch with the Kenyan authorities and we stand ready to provide them with any additional assistance they require. We will be monitoring the situation throughout the day."
Downing Street said Mr Cameron - who has spoken to the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta - offered help in terms of "policing, intelligence collaboration and other related kinds" of assistance.
The start of the final assault was heralded by a series of loud blasts and a barrage of gunfire as a pall of thick black smoke began to rise over the mall. Responsibility for the attack as been claimed by al-Shabab - an Islamist group based in neighbouring Somalia with links to al Qaida.
Earlier, a Twitter account purporting to belong to an al-Shabab spokesman named a 24-year-old man from London as one of the gunmen. The Foreign Office had said earlier it was investigating suggestions that British terrorist suspect Samantha Lewthwaite - known as the "White Widow" - who was married to one of the 7/7 bombers, was among the attackers. However the Kenyan authorities have now said all the militants were male, although some are said to have been dressed as women.