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Harvard grad among the casualties in Kenya mall attack

A Harvard alum who worked for President Bill Clinton's health organization was among the 61 civilians killed this past weekend's attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, CBS Station WBZ Boston reported.

Dr. Elif Yavuz, who was eight months pregnant, was with her partner, Ross Langdon, at the Westgate Shopping Center when terrorists invaded the mall and started shooting and throwing grenades. Both of them died during the siege.


The Clintons expressed their condolences in a statement on Monday: "We were shocked and terribly saddened to learn of the death of Elif Yavuz in the senseless attacks in Nairobi. Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS. She had originally worked with our Health Access Initiative during her doctoral studies, and we were so pleased that she had recently rejoined us as a senior vaccines researcher based in Tanzania. Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly."

A Dutch citizen, Yavuz moved to Tanzania to work for the organization. "That was a dream job for her," Dr. Jessica Cohen, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health where Yavuz recently received doctorate this past May. "This job in particular, which they hired her into right after she got her doctorate, was a combination of her research training and her experience in the field doing data collection in developing countries."

Kenyan businessman played dead after being injured in mall siege

Julio Frenk, dean of the HSPH, said in a statement that Yavuz committed her life and career in helping others. "Her compassion was an inspiration to everyone she touched at HSPH and the broader global community in which she lived and worked. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her."

Cohen described Yavuz's passing as a loss both personal and to that of the school's community. "I think everyone that knew her at the Harvard School of Public Health is heartbroken, and she was a tremendously special person and was full of life, and was really funny and caring and sweet. And she was one of the best students I've had. I don't know how else to describe her except very full of life, so it is a terrible shock and sadness to hear about this."

On Tuesday, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta proclaimedvictory over the al Qaeda-connected attackers following the four-day siege. He said that the dead included 61 civilians and six security forces. About 175 were wounded.

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