Terror group urges Muslims to attack malls in US, UK

A Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 photo shows the exterior of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. A video released late Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, purported to be by Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked rebels, urges Muslims to attack shopping malls in North America, Britain and other Western countries, specifically mentioning the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, and the Westfield Mall in Stratford, England. (photo credit: AP Photo/Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)

A Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 photo shows the exterior of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. A video released late Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, purported to be by Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked rebels, urges Muslims to attack shopping malls in North America, Britain and other Western countries, specifically mentioning the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, and the Westfield Mall in Stratford, England. (photo credit: AP Photo/Star Tribune, Jerry Holt)

In video, Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab also warns of more attacks like 2013 assault on Nairobi mall that killed 67

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A video purported to be by Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked rebel group al-Shabab urged Muslims to attack shopping malls in the US, Canada, Britain and other Western countries.

The threat came in the final minutes of a more than hour long video in which the extremists also warned Kenya of more attacks like the September 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed. The video included footage from major news organizations showing the assault on the mall and said it was in reprisal for alleged abuses by Kenyan troops against Muslims in Somalia.

The masked narrator concluded by calling on Muslims to attack shopping malls, specifically naming the Mall of America in Minnesota, as well as the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield mall in Stratford, England.

The authenticity of the video could not be immediately verified by The Associated Press.

The narrator, his face wrapped in a black-and-white kaffiyeh-type scarf and wearing a camouflage jacket, spoke with a British accent and appeared to be of Somali origin.

“What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street?” the man said, then called for Britain’s Westfield mall to be targeted.

Speaking on morning talk shows in the US, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the video “the new phase” of the global terrorist threat and warned the public to be vigilant.
This photo released by the Kenya Presidency shows the collapsed upper car park of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, September 26, 2013. Working near bodies crushed by rubble in a bullet-scarred, scorched mall, FBI agents continued fingerprint, DNA and ballistic analysis to help determine the identities and nationalities of victims and al-Shabab gunmen who attacked the shopping center, killing more than 60 people. (photo credit: AP Photo/Kenya Presidency)

This photo released by the Kenya Presidency shows the collapsed upper car park of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, September 26, 2013. Working near bodies crushed by rubble in a bullet-scarred, scorched mall, FBI agents continued fingerprint, DNA and ballistic analysis to help determine the identities and nationalities of victims and al-Shabab gunmen who attacked the shopping center, killing more than 60 people. (photo credit: AP Photo/Kenya Presidency)

“These groups are relying more and more on independent actors to become inspired, drawn to the cause and they’ll attack on their own,” Johnson said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I am very concerned about serious potential threats of independent actors here in the United States. We’ve seen this now in Europe, we’ve seen this in Canada.”

Asked about the specific threat against the Mall of America, Johnson said: “Any time a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place we’ve got to take that seriously. What we’re telling the public is you’ve got to be vigilant. … There will be enhanced security there that will be apparent, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important. It’s the environment we’re in.”

The Mall of America, one of the nation’s largest, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, said in a statement that it was “aware of a threatening video which includes a mention and images of the mall,” and said extra security had been put in place

Shoppers seemed undeterred Sunday by the threat.

“I’m more afraid of the cold today than any terrorists,” said Mary Lamminen, of St. Paul.