Sporadic gunfire broke out again at dawn, as Kenyan troops sought for a fourth day to retake the mall from al-Shabaab terrorists. Since the siege began Saturday, at least 69 people have been killed and some 200 wounded, but concerns are high that the toll may yet rise.
The terrorists are said to include Americans, and a British woman dubbed the "White Widow", Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed said.
The female suspected attacker, British extremist Samantha Lewthwait, is a 29-year-old mother-of-three and widow of a suicide bomber who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people.
Shocked witnesses said the attackers tried to weed out non-Muslims for execution by demanding they recite the Shahada.
The dead include British, French, Canadian, Chinese, South Korean, Peruvian, South African, Dutch and Australian nationals. Ghanaian poet and former UN envoy Kofi Awoonor was also killed.
In a statement at the week-end, al-Shabaab said their raid was in retaliation for Kenya's participation in African Union forces, which have been fighting the al-Qaeda-allies in Somalia.
"Al-Shabaab labels everyone as non-Muslim in order to justify the bloodshed," said Sheikh Osman Ibrahim of Somalia's Association of Islamic Scholars.
"Everyone knows al-Shabaab is not defending any religion," he added. Maghreb officials noted that such incidents highlight the global threat posed by extremist groups.
"Algeria condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack, cowardly and hateful, conducted Saturday against a shopping center in Nairobi, and reiterates its strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and its determination to combat this scourge, which is a serious threat to international peace and security, "Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesman Amar Belani said.
Meanwhile, Moroccan national Hamid Aqerrout was among the foreign hostages trapped inside the mall.
Aqerrout, the Nairobi bureau chief for MAP, was freed Saturday night. He told his Moroccan press agency that he personally saw six assailants.
Religious leaders from Kenya and Somalia decried the bloody attack.
"In Islam, spilling of blood and the destruction of property are absolute prohibitions," said Mohammed Khalifa, secretary of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya.
"The Holy Qur'an teaches that whoever kills any person unless for murder or crime, it shall be as if he murdered all mankind. And anyone who spares a life it shall be as if he spared the lives of all mankind," he said.
According to Qasim Moge Abdullahi, the head of a Somali NGO, countries must work together to successfully eradicate groups like al-Shabaab.
Terrorism does not have national or tribal boundaries; it poses a threat to all humanity, Somali lawmaker Dahir Amin Jesow agreed.
"People across the world must unite to fight terrorism," he said.
"The attack should not be viewed as only Kenyan or East African threat, but also internationally. The al-Shabaab who have claimed responsibility for the [Westgate] attack, may not carry out attacks in other parts of the world, but they will for sure inspire other terrorist groups to do the same," said Simiyu Werunga, the Chief Executive officer of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies.
He said the war on terrorism is an international phenomenon that should be fought collectively.
"Terrorists have no friends, if you do not support their violence, you are an enemy," Werunga said.