Kenya churches hit by deadly attacks


The town of Garissa is not far from Kenya's eastern border with Somalia.

At least 15 people were killed Sunday morning in grenade and gunfire attacks on two churches in the northern Kenyan town of Garissa, near Somalia. Reuters reported.

Regional deputy police chief Philip Ndolo told the news agency: "The goons were clad in balaclavas and hurled the grenades at the Catholic church and the [African Inland Church] in the town."

The attackers also opened fire on worshippers during Sunday morning services.

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At the African Inland Church, attackers killed two armed police officers posted at the door because of recent attacks in Garissa, before targeting worshippers.

The New York Times said gunmen used the officers' high-powered assault rifles to shoot worshippers fleeing the grenade attack. The attackers appeared to have escaped.

The Red Cross put the death toll at 17, including three children, according to Agence France-Presse.

It is understood that 40 people were wounded in the attacks on the African Inland Church and a Roman Catholic church. Three of the most critically injured victims were flown to Nairobi for treatment.

Garissa, capital of Kenya's North Eastern Province, is home to a military base used to deploy ground forces to Somalia to fight al Shabaab Islamist insurgents – with several parts of Kenya hit by blasts and grenade attacks since the military operation began last October, the BBC reported.

The town is about 60 miles from Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, where four foreign aid workers were kidnapped on Friday.

The pro-Shabaab Twitter site Al-Kataib later Sunday boasted of a "successful operation in Garissa" but did not specifically claim responsibility, AFP said. 

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