A four-year-old boy faced down one of the gunmen in the Nairobi, Kenya, Westgate Mall massacre and is now alive to tell the tale -- along with his mother and sister -- after the gunman pleaded for their forgiveness, gave them chocolate bars and let them go.
The bizarre yet inspiring story is one of many to emerge from the horrifying terrorist attack that entered its fourth day Tuesday morning, with Kenyan officials declaring that all hostages held by the Islamic militants who stormed the mall had been freed -- even as gunfire and explosions were still heard from inside the mall.
At latest count, 62 people died and 170 were wounded in the attack, for which the Somalia-based terror group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility.
The gunmen reportedly hunted down non-Muslims inside the mall and systematically executed those who failed impromptu quizzes on Islamic prayer.
According to accounts in the British media, one of the gunmen came across four-year-old Elliot Prior who with his sister Amelie and mother Amber had been hiding under a grocery store meat counter for about 90 minutes.
The gunmen shot Amber in the leg, then asked if there were any children alive in the mall.
At that point, Elliot (pictured, left) confronted the armed terrorist, telling him, “You’re a very bad man.”
Rather than respond with the deadly violence the terrorists showed to many others in the mall, the gunmen attempted to explain himself.
“Islam is not a bad religion,” he reportedly told the boy. “We are not monsters.”
The gunmen then urged Amber to convert to Islam and asked, “Do you forgive us?”
"Naturally, I was going to say whatever they wanted,” Amber said. “And they let us go."
The gunmen gave the children chocolate bars before sending the family, along with another boy whose mother had been killed, on their way to safety.
In another story of bravery, an off-duty soldier in Britain’s special forces was reportedly having coffee in the mall when the attack began on Saturday. Armed with only his service weapon, witnesses say he went in and out of the building up to a dozen times, saving about 100 people.
SOURCES: The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, Arutz Sheva