Last Updated Jan 15, 2019 8:40 PM EST
Johannesburg — al-Shabab terroristswith bombs and guns in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday. Some guests were able to escape but at least 14 people were killed and many others were wounded.
The U.S. State Department confirmed an American citizen was among those killed, but didn't release the victim's identity.
The attack began earlier in the afternoon when armed gunmen stormed the plush hotel and office complex in the capital city. Kenyan police said an explosion ripped through the security barrier setting three cars alight and then a suicide bomber blew himself up in the hotel lobby.
As gunfire rocked the upmarket complex in Nairobi, terrified office workers fled for their lives.
CCTV footage captured the armed gunmen moving through the complex with military precision, looking for victims. They then went from office to office shooting randomly.
In panic, people took cover wherever they could — behind cars, in offices or inside bathrooms. Robert Murire said it was chaos.
"When those guys came in, they just started shooting. They were not normal people. Just they were three people. They had green trousers, green tops, they had something here and bullets, black bullets," he said.
Security forces raced to the scene to help those trapped inside the building to safety. They were met by a scene from hell with blood, glass and bodies slumped over chairs.
al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility. This is not the first time they've struck in the heart of the capital. Their 2013left at least 67 dead.
The Kenyan deployment of troops in Somalia where al-Shabab is based has resulted in frequent attacks against Nairobi and elsewhere in Kenya.