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With gunmen running amok from all angles, their gut reaction must have been to flee for their lives.
But this young family were able to escape the Kenyan mall massacre by having the remarkable presence of mind to play dead in their fight to survive.
Dramatic new video has emerged that shows the mother lying completely still with her arm around her youngest child as terrorists storm the complex.
Her elder daughter lies motionless next to them alongside a bag of shopping.
|A family plays dead to escape the Kenyan mall massacre|
|A plain-clothed police officer crawls along the floor to get to the family|
|The officer tries to convince the mother to come with him as she lies frozen in fear with her child|
|The police officer scoops up one of the children as they prepare to make a dash for the exit|
It was this calmness in the most terrifying of situations that enabled them to evade detection and gave a police officer the chance to help them to safety.
Having been alerted to their location, the plain-clothed officer can be seen crawling on the floor towards them.
He carefully edges his way around a barrier which the family are cowering behind in what appears to be a cafe.
But it is clear the mother is initially too petrified to move and the rescuer spends quite some time trying to persuade her to come with him
Shouts can be heard from behind them, possibly from the gunmen, and it appears this is what convinces her to move.
Eventually, the police officer picks up the elder girl and then scoops up the toddler as they brace themselves to make a run for it.
When they believe the coast is clear, they crouch down and dash out the exit to safety.
A photograph later shows the elder girl being carried away by a Kenyan soldier still clutching the bag of shopping.
At least 61 civilians have been killed since Al Shabaab gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping centre on Saturday.
The number of victims, gunmen and hostages has been unclear throughout the crisis as has the progress of the operation to secure the mall.
Kenya's President on Tuesday night announced that his country had 'ashamed and defeated' its attackers, but even as he spoke shots were heard inside the mall.
Gunshots also rang out this morning, but government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said they came from Kenyan forces going room to room, firing protectively before entering unknown territory.
Somali terror group Al Shabaab yesterday claimed that 137 hostages they had seized in Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall had died.
Here's the video.
- Daily Mail