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Somali group warns of more Kenya attacks

3 people killed in assaults on 2 border towns

A parking lot outside the Westgate mall in Nairobi contained what remained of cars and other debris in the aftermath of the four-day siege by Somali militants. Kenya was observing a three-day period of mourning as investigators, including US specialists, began combing through  the site.

Kenyan Presidential Press Service/Getty Images

A parking lot outside the Westgate mall in Nairobi contained what remained of cars and other debris in the aftermath of the four-day siege by Somali militants. Kenya was observing a three-day period of mourning as investigators, including US specialists, began combing through the site.

NAIROBI — The Islamist extremist group that killed scores of people at a Nairobi mall has now attacked two Kenyan towns near the Somali border, killing three people. The leader of the Somali group affiliated with Al Qaeda said the attacks will continue until Kenyan troops are withdrawn from Somalia.

The leader of Al Shabab said in a message that there is no way Kenya can ‘‘withstand a war of attrition inside your own country.’’

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‘‘Make your choice today and withdraw all your forces,’’ Ahmed Abdi Mohamed Godane, who goes by his nom de guerre Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, said in a new statement posted on the Internet late Wednesday. ‘‘Otherwise be prepared for an abundance of blood that will be spilt in your country, economic downfall and displacement.’’

Al Shabab said the Nairobi mall attack was not only directed at Kenya, but was also ‘‘a retribution against the Western states that supported the Kenyan invasion and are spilling the blood of innocent Muslims in order to pave the way for their mineral companies,’’ according to the statement from Godane.

Al Shabab attacked Nairobi’s Westgate mall Saturday and held it for four days in a siege in which at least 67 people were killed. Forensic experts from around the world, including the United States, Britain, Germany, and Canada, continued work Thursday reconstructing events at the scene including by carrying out fingerprint, DNA, and ballistic analysis.

Early on Thursday, Al Shabab fighters attacked the border town of Mandera, killing two police officers, injuring three others, and destroying 11 vehicles, said regional police chief Charlton Mureithi.

Wednesday night, Al Shabab attacked the border town of Wajir, 240 miles southwest of Mandera. One person was killed and four hurt as a gunman fired and threw grenades.

Kenya has suffered many such attacks by Al Shabab along its 423-mile border with Somalia, but they take on new significance following the Westgate mall attack.

At the city morgue in central Nairobi where bodies recovered from the mall have been taken, families wept as they waited to collect the bodies of their loved ones, and several expressed frustration about how long the process has taken.

Peter Mwalaia said he had been waiting to collect the body of his relative since Wednesday, while others had been waiting since Saturday.

Experts from the United States, Germany, and the international police agency Interpol were seen entering and leaving the facility, along with local workers.

Two British pathologists were working with Kenyan counterparts inside performing autopsies, a senior morgue official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Bullets and shrapnel removed from the corpses are being turned over to police as evidence, chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor said.

‘‘A lot of them died from bullet wounds — the body, the head. . . ,’’ he said. ‘‘Some also died from grenades, shrapnel.’’

The Kenyan Red Cross said Thursday that 61 people remain missing, and many fear that they may be buried under the rubble in the mall — though the government has said they do not believe there are many more victims inside. The Red Cross earlier said 71 people were missing, but that number has reduced as bodies in the morgue have been identified.

Several FBI agents from New York City, including members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, bomb squad technicians, and evidence recovery specialists have been sent to Nairobi, a US law enforcement official confirmed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the operation.

The international investigation is being coordinated by Interpol, which sent an incident response team that arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday, the Kenyan government said. There have been no details on what the international team has found so far in the bullet-scarred, scorched mall.

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