Security worries worldwide after Kenya mall attack


A Kenyan man walks past the Westgate Shopping Centre, on September 25, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. The country is observing three days of national mourning as security forces begin the task of clearing and securing the Westgate shopping mall following a four-day siege by militants.


Uriel Sinai

Security is in the spotlight after the attack at Kenya's Westgate mall, which killed scores of shoppers.

A report in the Times of London suggests that the UK may consider adding random bag checks at the entrance of malls.

Some countries, including Israel, already include searches before entering shopping centers, but it is unclear if other countries around the world will follow suit.

"No one wants, when you go shopping, to be strip searched, to be interviewed in a room by a security guard," Simon Bennett, director, Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester in England, told the Associated Press.

"That might be acceptable in aviation, but it is not in commercial retail." 

The United States has also taken the events at Westgate as a direct and serious threat to its own security. 

The New York Times reported that at least 20 FBI agents had been sent to Nairobi to investigate the shooting, where they are combing through rubble and security footage.

"American officials are mindful that Kenya, one of its closest allies in Africa, has become a precarious buffer zone between the United States and Islamist militants who have declared foreigners legitimate targets in their war," wrote the Times.

More from GlobalPost: Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane claims responsibility for Westgate mall attack

According to the BBC, experts from the UK, Germany, Canada and Interpol are also assisting the investigation.

At least 61 civilians and six Kenyan security officers died in the attack and rescue efforts.

The death toll is expected to rise as bodies are recovered from part of the mall that collapsed.

Five of the attackers were reportedly killed, while 11 others are in custody. There are unconfirmed reports that Americans, a Briton and possibly other Western recruits were among them.

The attack has been claimed by Somali Islamist group Al Shabaab as retaliation for Kenya's military action in Somalia two years ago.

The militants have also claimed that non-Muslims and Westerners are "legitimate targets" for further violence.