Al-Shabaab threatens malls in Canada, UK, U.S. in new video
Posted: Feb 22, 2015 11:49 AM CDT
In the propaganda video released Saturday, the al Qaeda-linked terror group talks about its September 2013 attack on a mall in Kenya. The brazen siege, which went on for days, left more than 60 people dead at an upscale mall in Nairobi.
In its new video, it calls for similar attacks on malls in the three Western countries. Al-Shabaab identified specific malls, but CNN will not list them unless they respond publicly.
Mall of America said it's aware of the video listing it as a potential target.
\"We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately,\" the Minnesota mall said in a statement. \"We have implemented extra security precautions, some may be noticeable to guests and others won't be.\"
The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, which was also listed, said it has implemented extra security and is working with federal and local law enforcement agencies.
U.S. officials said they're aware of the threats and urged mall shoppers to be vigilant.
\"If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they've got to be particularly careful,\" said Jeh Johnson, the homeland security secretary. \"There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it's the environment we're in, frankly.\"
The National Security Council said it's working with various agencies, including the FBI and local law enforcement, to ensure maximum security.
\"Protecting public safety and national security is our highest priority,\" said Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
The Somalia-based militants have heavily recruited in Minneapolis, where young men have been slipping away to join the terror group. The city is home to the largest Somali population in the United States.
Although Al-Shabaab has also targeted youth in Canada, Finland and the UK for recruitment, its past attacks have been limited to East Africa.
In addition to Kenya and Somalia, it has also struck in Uganda, where it killed more than 70 people gathered to watch a World Cup soccer match in Kampala five years ago. Kenya and Uganda have sent their forces to neighboring Somalia to battle the extremists.
As the attacks get more daring, the international community has rallied to fight the militants.
Last year, the United States launched an airstrike in Somalia that killed the Al-Shabaab leader. The terror group later replaced him and vowed to avenge his death.