Hostages held in Nairobi mall, security operation continues: officials

NAIROBI - Gunmen are still holding hostages inside Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall and security forces are continuing operations to secure the complex, Kenyan security officials said.

The Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre said an uncertain number of shoppers and staff were being held by the gunmen, as a massive police and army operation went on into the early hours of Sunday - more than 12 hours after the attack began.

It also said that security forces had managed to free five hostages in the early hours of the morning.

"Operations are continuing," an armed Kenyan plain clothes security officer told AFP at the scene.

"We will free all those inside and stop this, of course we cannot give details of the operations except to say that everything that can be done is being done," the official said.

Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, which Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said had left 39 dead and 150 more wounded.