Excerpted from DAILY MAIL: Some barricaded themselves in storerooms, while others hid in boxes or even played dead.
All were fleeing the bloody massacre unfolding around them as they saw terrified fellow shoppers mercilessly executed after being singled out as non-Muslim.
Men, women and children were lined up and then gunned down with AK-47s after failing to name the Prophet Mohammed’s mother or recite passages from the Koran – sure-fire proof they were ‘kafirs’, or non-believers.
Others fled and sought refuge in shops, bank vaults and store rooms as grenades exploded and bullets fired around them.
The fortunate ones managed to emerge blood-splattered and terrified, with the wounded pushed out in shopping trolleys.
Hannah Chisholm, 21, from Haslemere, Surrey, described the terror and confusion at the Westgate Mall, which she was visiting while on holiday.
She said: ‘We kept running to different places but the shots were getting louder so we barricaded ourselves along with about 60 others into a large storeroom.
‘There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot. At that point we thought the gunmen were thieves so we assumed they wouldn’t try to reach the storeroom.’
Greg Aldous, from New Zealand, told how he hid in a box and watched a man being gunned down 30ft away from him. He said the terrorists ‘were coming in through the front, they were coming in through the back and we were just sitting ducks’.
He added: ‘These are Islamic fundamentalist nutcases. They just shot and killed anybody. They are horrible.’
He eventually escaped under the cover of darkness to a lorry-loading depot where people were panicking and screaming.
‘My instinct was to hide and I jumped into a large box containing supermarket cartons and hid there,’ he said. ‘I only survived the massacre because I kept out of sight.
‘If they had found me… I’m white, so I’m dead. They’re not even going to think twice. They hate your skin colour.’ Radio presenter Saadia Ahmed was one of the 1,000 who managed to flee. She said: ‘I witnessed a few people get up and say something in Arabic and the gunmen let them go.
‘A colleague of mine said he was Muslim and recited something in Arabic and they let him go as well.’
But she added: ‘I saw a lot of children and elderly people being shot dead. I don’t understand why you would shoot a five-year-old child.
‘They were firing at random at anyone who tried to escape.’
One mother, Kamal Kaur, who had been shopping with her family, posted a string of shocking tweets about her ordeal when she got home.
‘I just washed my hair and wailed like a child. Blood in my hair. Not mine. That little boy who died right next to me… My son almost had his head blown off. Missed by an inch. Hit wall. Bounced and killed the little boy next to him.’
Kenyan IT engineer Charles Karani, 41, said: ‘I hid under a car with my daughters, and I saw the men line up maybe 40 people and ask them who was Muslim, and if they were, to prove it by saying the name of the Prophet’s mother. Those who got it wrong were shot. There was blood everywhere.
‘Two ladies under the car with me had gunshot wounds on their legs. Other people for sure are dead. I saw four people lying, not moving.
‘A grenade was thrown and it rolled near us. My daughter said, “Papa, there’s a grenade” – but thank God it didn’t go off and I kicked it away.’
Video footage of the attack emerged last night showing terrified shoppers running for cover as gunfire is heard.
One woman, writing on Twitter under the name Shirley Ghetto, told how she was hiding under some mattresses in the mall. She wrote: ‘Is it safe to come out from hiding? It’s quiet. Please keep me updated.’
Fred Ngoga Gateretse, an official with the African Union, crouched on the floor and watched gunmen firing at shoppers and Kenyan police. ‘Believe me, these guys were good shooters,’ he said. ‘You could tell they were trained.’
Three Britons were yesterday confirmed dead.
Kenyan troops were seen carrying in at least two rocket-propelled grenades as they stormed the mall yesterday after military helicopters hovered over the mall.
Prime Minister David Cameron warned Britain to brace for ‘more bad news’ after the ‘absolutely sickening and despicable attack of appalling brutality’.
Security officials could not say how many people were being held captive. Kenya’s Red Cross had said, citing police, that 49 people were reported missing.
Officials did not make an explicit link but that number could form the basis of the number of people held captive. Non-Muslims were specifically targeted.
The Red Cross added last night that the death toll had risen from 59 to 68 after nine more bodies were recovered in a joint rescue mission.
Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked rebel group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday in which they used grenades and assault rifles.
The attackers included some women. The Islamic extremist rebels said the attack was retribution for Kenyan forces’ 2011 push into neighboring Somalia.
An al-Shaabab spokesman told Channel 4 News that westerners would not be safe in Kenya until the country pulled its forces out of Somalia.
He said: ‘Kenyans have blood on their hands. Anyone who is prepared to come to Kenya must be prepared to face the reality.
‘We don’t fear Europeans and Americans because we are not weak. And we are saying to the Europeans and the Americans who have been supporting those who have been attacking us, you should tell the Kenyans to stop their aggression if you want to be safe.’
Al-Shabab said on its new Twitter feed – after its previous one was shut on Saturday – that Kenyan officials were asking the hostage-takers to negotiate.
‘We’ll not negotiate with the Kenyan govt as long as its forces are invading our country, so reap the bitter fruits of your harvest,’ al-Shabab tweeted.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – who has lost relatives in the attack – reiterated his government’s determination to continue fighting al-Shabab.
‘We… went into Somalia to help stabilise the country and most importantly to fight terror that had been unleashed on Kenya and the world,’ he said.
‘We shall not relent on the war on terror.’ He said although this violent attack had succeeded, the Kenyan security forces had ‘neutralised’ many others.
Earlier in the day, 51-year-old Mr Kenyatta – who was elected five months ago – said he his nephew and his nephew’s fiancee were killed in the attack.
Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said a number of people were being held hostage on the third floor and the basement area of the mall.
This includes Nike, Adidas and Bose stores. Kenyan security officials sought to reassure families of hostages inside but implied that hostages could die.
The security operation is ‘delicate’ because Kenyan forces hoped the hostages were evacuated safely, said Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Lenku.
‘The priority is to save as many lives as possible,’ Mr Lenku said, adding that more than 1,000 people escaped the attack inside the mall yesterday.
‘We have received a lot of messages from friendly countries, but for now it remains our operation,’ Mr Lenku said.
More than 175 people were injured in the attack, he added, including many children. Kenyan forces were in control of the mall’s security cameras.
This afternoon brief volleys of gunfire were heard and officials told TV reporters that they could soon be asked to move further back from the mall.
An Associated Press reporter, positioned less than 350 yards from Westgate, tweeted that a huge blast went off inside it. Keep Reading