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Man shot dead outside US Embassy in Kenya

A man has been shot dead by police outside the US Embassy in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Officials said police acted in self-defense after the assailant stabbed an officer.

The dead man had been walking towards the US Embassy when he attempted to grab a gun from one of the officers close to the public entrance to the visa section, officials said.

The police officer involved was a member of the paramilitary General Services Unit (GSU) deployed to guard the embassy.

"The man was shot after stabbing a GSU officer in the hand and left him with injuries," said local police chief Vitalis Otieno.

An image shared on social media showed the body of a man lying on the pavement in a pool of blood, surrounded by officers. Local media said the assailant was a 24-year-old Kenya from the Wajir region, close to the border with Somalia.

US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were also present at the scene.

A US Embassy spokeswoman confirmed there had been a "shooting incident" outside the building, which is located in a heavily secured compound in the north of the capital.

The embassy is opposite the main United Nations complex in Gigiri, an up-market suburb popular with expatriates.

"No embassy personnel were involved," US Embassy spokeswoman Fiona Evans said, without giving further details.

Wajir county has been cited by Kenyan authorities as a hot spot for recruitment by the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.

 Al-Shabab has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending troops to Somalia to fight the militants. The group has carried out a wave of attacks in Kenya that have left hundreds dead.

mm/sms (AFP, Reuters)