Al-Shabaab attacks could reach the West

Civilians escape an area at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya's government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Credit: Reuters
Civilians escape an area at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday killing at least 20 people in what Kenya’s government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety.
Credit: Reuters

Al-Shabaab has promised more attacks on foreign soil following the assault on Westgate Mall in Nairobi that killed at least 62 people. “Attacks like this will become common in Kenya,” said a spokesman of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Somali group on Monday.

The scale of the attack has shown al-Shabaab is far from finished despite setbacks following Kenya’s 2011 occupation of their Somali strongholds. It is feared that Westgate may represent the start of a major campaign.

“Kenya has been in their crosshairs since 2011, so in a sense it is revenge,” Abdullahi Boru Halakhe, security analyst for the region, told Metro. “But this also shows the internationalists are winning the internal battle in al-Shabaab. It is a coming-out statement.”

Boru Halakhe, who has researched the group for many years, claims they have established several training camps in Kenya and believes the country will be under serious threat around the Christmas holidays. “I would not be surprised to see attacks on Kenya, Uganda, and possibly Western nations.”

Al-Shabaab lost public support in Somalia following the 2011 famine in which they expelled aid groups, worsening the crisis. The Somali government has been able to regain parts of the country, including the Kismayo airport that provided the group’s main income.

“The nature of the attack promotes their operational capabilities,” said ex-FBI agent and counter-terrorism operative Ali Soufan. “The level of sophistication and publicity will attract new recruits and funding, and they have been successful in recruiting from the West.”

Somalia has become a sanctuary for terrorists compared to the danger they would face in Afghanistan or Pakistan, according to Soufan. “The attack shows that affiliates of al-Qaeda have become more dangerous than the group itself.”

The Kenyan government has promised a forceful response with retaliation expected in the coming weeks, but a military solution may not be enough. “Trying to stabilize the Somali government and deprive al-Shabaab of territory should be a key goal,” said counter-terrorism expert and author Daveed Gartenstein-Ross.

“We need a broad range of tactics with all the ministries coming together, and we must disrupt their funding,” said Boru Halakhe.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Arts

EXCLUSIVE: Backstage with Adam Jacobs at 'Aladdin' on…

Metro shadowed Adam Jacobs backstage at "Aladdin" on Broadway.

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

Movies

Review: Bickering family dramedy 'This is Where I…

A talented cast sits Shiva in the bickering family dramedy "This is Where I Leave You," although it's more sap than yuks.

NFL

J.J. Watt poses unique challenges to struggling Giants…

Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, is the leader of a surprising Texans (2-0) team that has already matched last season’s win total.

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…