Smoke is billowing into the Nairobi sky at the shopping mall standoff from what officials are describing as an attempt to divert their attention.

Kenya's Interior Minister is blaming the smoke on mattresses set on fire from inside the upscale Westgate Mall.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) JOSEPH OLE LENKU, KENYAN INTERIOR MINISTER, SAYING:

"I am aware that indications are that the building had been blown off but nothing could be further from the truth. We want to assure Kenyans that our forces are in full control of the situation and we are certain that in no time, the fire will be put off."

The conflict is now in its third day.

After a quiet night, gunshots could be heard in the morning, leaving security on high alert.

Militants from Somalia's al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group have killed at least 62 since storming the mall on Saturday.

A spokesman for the group says they will kill more hostages if the Kenyan security forces try to enter.

Officials have been unable to confirm how many hostages are still inside.

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