Details are thin, but I figure that if the Daily Mail gets enough traffic from various sites for this story, they’ll have to flesh it out in a follow-up. If they’re willing to run shameless click bait like this, they’ve got to be willing to run worthwhile traffic bait about a British vet heroically defying jihadis to stage a one-man rescue, no?
One man, one gun, hundreds of people in fear for their lives. Here we go:
With a gun tucked into his waistband, he was pictured helping two women from the complex…
The former soldier is said to have returned to the building on a dozen occasions, despite intense gunfire.
A friend in Nairobi said: ‘What he did was so heroic. He was having coffee with friends when it happened.
‘He went back in 12 times and saved 100 people. Imagine going back in when you knew what was going on inside.’
Sources said the soldier was in the Royal Marine and now lives in Kenyan. He cannot be named for security reasons.
The British military regularly train and operate out of Kenya, and have been involved in tracking UK citizens involved with hardline Islamists in Somalia and Yemen.
There’s a photo of him at the link, face blurred to protect his identity. One surprisingly ambiguous detail: Was he forced to engage the jihadis with fire or was he able to do this stealthily, in parts of the mall where there were no terrorists around at the moment? The fact that they went out of their way to mention he was armed makes me think, yeah, he must have drawn on them at some point, but the Mail never explicitly says so. If they manage to track him down for an interview, they should ask if he would have gone back inside as often as he did if he wasn’t armed. Maybe he would have — he’s a Royal Marine, after all — but having some means of defense must have been a comfort. Naturally he didn’t want to end up in a gun battle with people armed with AK-47s, but if it came to that, he wasn’t a sitting duck.
One other odd detail: The ringleader of the attack might be a woman and British herself — and the widow of London bomber Germaine Lindsay to boot. I’d never heard of her until today, but a cryptic allusion by Kenya’s foreign minister to a British woman who’s engaged in terrorism “many times before” has some counterterror analysts believing that the lead suspect here is Samantha Lewthwaite. Also among the attackers, per the foreign minister, are “two or three Americans.” Over to you, FBI.