Kenyan intelligence warned of Westgate attack


Kenyan soldiers take cover after heavy gunfire near Westgate mall in Nairobi on September 23, 2013. Kenyan Defense troops remain inside the mall, in a standoff with Somali militants after they laid siege to the shopping centre shooting.



Cabinet members and defense officials in Kenya were warned of the possibility of a terror attack by Al Shabaab a year before the group carried out an attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi, according to intelligence sources.

The country's National Intelligence Service presented the warnings as part of regular situational reports for cabinet members and military intelligence.

More from GlobalPost: 5 reasons Al Shabaab militants attacked Kenya

An electronic version of the reports obtained by CNN showed that Al Shabaab posed a threat to numerous targets in Kenya, including Westgate.

"The following suspected Al Shabaab operatives are in Nairobi and are planning to mount suicide attacks on undisclosed date, targeting Westgate Mall and Holy Family Basilica [church]," the report from Sept. 21, 2012 warned.

As recently as January, one report warned of a "Mumbai-attack style," referring to when hotels and tourist destinations in India's cosmopolitan city were targeted by militants in coordinated attacks in 2008.

Kenyan members of parliament launched an investigation into the alleged intelligence failures that led to the attack on the Nairobi mall.

The head of the parliament's defense committee told the BBC that "people need to know the exact lapses in the security system."

Al Shabaab militants killed 67 people during the attack and subsequent four-day siege of the Westgate Mall on Sept. 21 of this year.

The number of missing was initially 61, but has since been reduced to 39.

Five militants were killed by security forces and 10 have since been arrested.

Somali Islamist group Al Shabaab said it was retaliating for the Kenyan military's involvement in Somalia.