The Al-Qaida-linked terror group al-Shabaab has advised Muslims all over the world to attack shopping malls in western countries, particularly the UK.
They disseminated the message in a 76-minute clip. Specific potential targets are Westfield mall in Stratford along with other malls such as the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada. The narrator spoke with a British accent, his face wrapped in black and white coffee-type scarf.
The clip is yet to be verified, but is already being featured as footage for various news reports.
The video, released on Saturday night, calls for additional attacks similar to al-Shabaab’s September 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed sixty-seven people.
A New Phase of Terrorism?
Jeh Johnson, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary, dubbed it as “the new phase” of terrorism that threatens USA and other western countries.
Johnson’s concerns were genuine. “These groups are relying more and more on independent actors to become inspired, drawn to the cause and they’ll attack on their own.”
“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.”
Security is beefed up in both the Mall of America and the Edmonton Mall, where statements are being issued regarding the increased precautions.
The Kenyan government, on the other hand, has dismissed al-Shabaab’s video.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said, “They’re using propaganda to legitimize what cannot be legitimized. When you lead a group to go and attack a shopping mall and kill innocent shoppers that cannot be legitimized, those were not soldiers.
“Muslims also died in the Westgate attack. The video is cheap propaganda trying to re-write history and to get more support from those support them.”