Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he’s “confident” that big shopping malls will enhance security measures in the wake of new threats of attack by Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked extremist group based in Somalia.
Still, Secretary Johnson said on CNN Sunday, “Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously.” Johnson spoke on five Sunday morning TV news programs.
On Saturday, Al Shabab released an online video calling for attacks on western shopping centers, including the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, and Oxford Street in London..
In the video, a man with a British-sounding accent and full face covering calls on supporters of Al Shabab to attack “American or Jewish-owned” Western shopping centers, the BBC reports.There is precedent for such attacks. In 2013, terrorists attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing more than 60 people. Al Shabab has also claimed responsibility for recent attacks at a Mogadishu hotel, which killed more than 25 people.