Archbishop of Canterbury prays for Kenya after Nairobi hotel attack

The scene outside the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi after being stormed by militants(Photo: CNN)

The Archbishop of Canterbury was tonight offering his prayers and condolences after a deadly attack on a luxury hotel in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi by suspected militants. 

Militant jihadist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the upmarket DusitD2 hotel in the city's Westlands neighbourhood which has left at least seven people dead, according to eyewitnesses

Spokesman for al-Shabab's military operations, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: 'We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on. We shall give details later.'

Al-Shabab, which hails from Somalia, is the same group that carried out an attack on the city's Westgate Mall in 2013 in which 67 people died.

The attackers stormed the hotel and office complex at around 3pm on Tuesday afternoon local time, shooting indiscriminately and bombing vehicles in the car park.  At least one attacker blew himself up in the lobby. 

Footage from the scene showed armed police escorting dozens of terrified people from the premises, some of whom were injured. 

A woman working in a neighbouring building told Reuters news agency: 'I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives.'

The government said late on Tuesday that the complex had been secured. 

'I can now report that we have secured all the buildings that have been affected by these events,' said Interior Minister Fred Matiang'i in a statement broadcast on national television.

'I can also now report that the country is now secure, that the nation remains calm and that Kenyans and all our visitors are safe and should feel free to continue going about their normal business.'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said he was praying for the victims and their loved ones.

'Our hearts go out this evening to those caught up in the Nairobi attack,' he tweeted.

'We pray for victims and for families grieving or waiting for news. We thank God for the security forces. We pray for peace and calm to reign. May all in Kenya know the love and comfort of Jesus Christ.'