Editor's note: Graphic image below.
Two young children standing near a dead body outside of the Westgate Mall in Narobi, Kenya, is a startling image. But it's what the little boy in a green "I (heart) NY" shirt said directly to one of the gunmen that is also shocking.
In the photo, the 4-year-old looks directly at the camera, grasping two Mars bars, while his sister, Amelie, clutches something to her chest with a worried expression. A trail of bloody tracks lead to a man's body in behind them.
Terrified children, later identified as Elliot and Amelie Prior, wait by the body of a man after escaping from the Westgate shopping center as police search for gunmen in Nairobi, September 21, 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
After saying the provocative words, which few adults would dare utter in a moment of terror, the gunman's reported response was equally surprising.
According to the newspaper, he begged for forgiveness and gave the boy the candy bars he holds in the photo.
“Please forgive me, we are not monsters," the Sun reported the gunman saying.
The boy's uncle Alex Coutts told the Sun the terrorists said anyone with kids hiding in the supermarket could leave.
"Amber made the decision to stand up and say 'yes,'" Coutts said of the children's mother.
A woman identified as Amber Prior in media reports flees with her children. The boy, Elliot, reportedly told one of the gunmen he was "a very bad man." (Photo: AP/Sayyid Azim)
According to the Daily Mail, Amber said once the gunman found out they were of French origin they changed their tune, saying the Islamic faith "was not a bad one."
"He told me I had to change my religion to Islam and said 'do you forgive us? Do you forgive us?’" the mother reportedly said. "Naturally, I was going to say whatever they wanted and they let us go."
Tuesday, hostages are still being held in the mall. More than 60 people have been killed.
The terrorists allegedly include "two or three Americans” and a British woman, according to Kenya’s foreign minister.