Skip to main content

Al Shabab threatens American malls

Al-Shabab-Shopping Mall ap web.jpg

Various malls in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are stepping up their security after a siege at a Kenyan mall ended with more than 60 fatalities, according to CNN.The attack, carried out by Somalian-based al-Shabaab militants, took place in the upscale Westgate Mall two years ago in Nairobi where shoppers were held hostage for four days, BBC reported.Now, two years later, the same terror group has threatened the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, calling for attacks similar to those that took place at Westgate Mall. “Threats like these shouldn’t be taken lightly,” said Alex Leek, a junior from Indiana studying biology. “Hopefully this gets settled before something bigger happens.”The terror group al-Shabaab released the threats via video on Saturday, Feb. 21. However, the U.S. government does not have any clear information regarding attacks in the U.S.A., U.K. and Canada, CNN also reported.Although the specifics of the attacks were not identified, Homeland Security and the FBI have begun making improvements in security since the attack in Kenya.Within the last year, the FBI has teamed up with select malls nationwide with aims to increase preparedness. Amongst those exercises were staged mall attacks that tested the readiness of SWAT teams.“It’s good to know that preparation is taking place for attacks like these,” said Kelly Hess, a sophomore from California who is undeclared. “The last thing we’d need is a lack of preparation.”The threats have come as a surprise for U.S. officials, since al-Shabaab limited their past attacks to only their home country, Kenya and Uganda, according to Houston-based KPRC 2 News.U.S. officials believe that with the rise of other terror groups like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and their vicious actions, al-Shabaab may be feeling a little left out.“If the terror group is trying to prove themselves to someone then I don’t think these threats are likely to unfold, but that’s just my opinion,” said Victoria Ansarah, a freshman from Washington D.C. studying ICS.The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI believe the video was the terror group’s attempt to compete for attention and recruits with other terrorist groups, KPRC 2 News also added.“Al-Shabaab’s strength is compromised,” A U.S. law enforcement official said to KPRC 2 News. “And while the group has the desire to see a mall attack in the U.S., it probably isn’t able to do so.”Uploaded March 5, 2015
Writer: Jared Roberts