39 dead after terror attack in Kenya

FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop condemned a terrorist attack in a Nairobi shopping mall that claimed the lives of at least 39 people on Sunday.

The attack, believed to be the work of an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, involved several masked gunmen opening fire during trading hours at the mall in the Kenyan capital.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday confirmed at least 150 people were injured and 39 killed in the attack, including two Canadian nationals.

He said any terrorist attack was a "cowardly act", and pledged to hunt down those responsible.

It is understood the perpetrators had taken several hostages following the initial attack, with an ongoing operation to save lives.

Ms Bishop said the attack was senseless, and expressed her sympathy for President Kenyatta, who lost family members in the attack.

She said on Sunday afternoon no Australians had yet been identified among the dead or injured, advising those in Nairobi to keep clear of the Westgate mall area.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also warned Australian tourists of recent reports that terrorist groups were continuing to plan attacks in Kenya on "places frequented by westerners, in both Nairobi and Mombasa.

Australians concerned about family or friends in Kenya should try to contact them directly and if unsuccessful, call 1300 555 135.