Israeli experts are on the ground in Kenya aiding local security forces in resolving a now-two-day-old hostage crisis at the popular Westgate Mall in Nairobi (photo), according to local media reports.
The Israelis are said to not be taking an active role in attempts by Kenyan forces to storm the mall and put down the Muslim terrorists who have so far killed 68 people and wounded 170 others. Dozens more are still being held hostage.
Whether or not those reports are accurate remains unclear, as the Israeli government is not making any official statements. Israeli forces have operated in western Africa on numerous occasions in the past.
If the Al Qaeda-linked terrorists holding the mall are to be believed, Israeli soldiers have been part of the incursion teams trying to infiltrate the mall, and their presence has so far not helped the Kenyans.
A number of Israelis living and doing business in Kenya were initially caught up in the hostage crisis when 15 heavily armed terrorists burst onto the scene on Saturday.
Several Israelis told Israeli media of their harrowing experience, noting that the terrorists allowed all Muslims to freely leave the mall, while executing and holding hostage all non-Muslims. A number of people, including nearly all the Israeli civilians, were able to escape the complex.