Al-Shabaab threatens malls, including some in U.S.; FBI downplays threat


(CNN) – It’s clearly a chilling message.

But after a video from terror group Al-Shabaab calling for attacks on shopping malls in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, how worried should shoppers be?

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told CNN Sunday that there’s “no credible or specific evidence” suggesting a U.S. mall attack is in the works. But he warned Americans to watch out.

“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today,” he said, “they’ve got to be particularly careful.”

The Minnesota mall is among those mentioned in the video the Somalia-based terror group apparently posted on Saturday. The video talks about Al-Shabaab’s September 2013 attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, calling for similar attacks in the three Western countries. More than 60 people were killed in the Kenyan mall siege, which lasted four days.

CNN is only naming the malls that have responded publicly to the terror group’s video threat.

Mall of America said it’s aware that the video lists it as a potential target.

“We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately,” the Minnesota mall said in a statement. “We have implemented extra security precautions; some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be.”

The FBI and Homeland Security issued a joint written statement saying local law enforcement and first responders have been told the agencies are not “aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center.”

The police department in Bloomington, Minnesota, which regularly patrols the mall, also said there was no credible threat against it, describing the mall as a “very safe place.”

“Enhanced security measures to include additional personnel have been implemented and all information is being monitored,” police said in a statement Sunday.

Stressing that there is no known credible threat to any mall, Johnson also cautioned, “I won’t know about when the next bad actor is going to strike.”

Another U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the situation also told CNN that there is no actual working threat against any mall in the country and added that no one should avoid going to a mall because of the online threat.

A top Canadian official condemned the video, saying authorities there are monitoring threats and will take “the appropriate actions” to protect public safety.

“Canada will not be intimidated by threats from any terrorist organization,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said.

Bulletin to police: No indication of ongoing plot

A joint intelligence bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI states there is no indication of an ongoing plot from Al-Shabaab in the United States, according to two law enforcement officials who have seen it.

The bulletin, sent to law enforcement around the country, urges vigilance against a lone wolf-type attack that the group’s latest video message could inspire.

The intelligence assessment, the bulletin says, is that there is no credible specific threat to malls in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI believe the video was an attempt by Al-Shabaab to compete for attention and recruits with other terrorist groups, one official said.

Al-Shabaab’s strength is compromised, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN, and while the group has the desire to see a mall attack in the United States, it likely doesn’t have the capability to do so.

“There will be enhanced security (at malls),” Johnson said, “but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.”

A short time later, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Tanya Bradsher told CNN that Johnson “didn’t say that they should not go to the mall. He told shoppers to be extra vigilant and that security was increased.

Minnesota governor’s office: We’re monitoring the situation

Matt Swenson, a spokesman for Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, said the governor is “monitoring this situation, and will continue to consult the guidance of federal, state and local law enforcement officials, who are working together to assure the safety of all Minnesotans.”

Security concerns didn’t stop shoppers from packing the Mall of America on Sunday, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.

Some shoppers were taking the situation in stride. Others said they were concerned about the threat.

“I’m scared, because I have kids,” Brittany Segler told WCCO.

Canadian mall steps up security

The West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, which was also listed in the Al-Shabaab video, said it has implemented extra security and is working with federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Edmonton police said there was “no imminent threat” to the city, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported.

“This was a very general comment … it wasn’t a specific threat,” Brian Simpson, deputy chief of the Edmonton Police Service, told CBC. “However, we as a policing agency (are) absolutely paying attention to this.”

In the United Kingdom, Metropolitan Police Counter Terror Command said it is aware of the Al-Shabaab video.

The FBI has a program to work with various malls around the country to improve security, the law enforcement official also told CNN.

After the 2013 Nairobi attack, the bureau worked with some malls last year to test the readiness of SWAT teams by staging fake attacks during hours when malls were closed, the official said.

Al-Shabaab’s previous targets

Although Al-Shabaab has also targeted youth in Canada, Finland and the UK for recruitment, its past attacks have been limited to East Africa.

But the Somalia-based militants have heavily recruited in Minneapolis, where young men have been slipping away to join the terror group. The city is home to the largest Somali population in the United States.

In addition to Kenya and Somalia, Al-Shabaab has also struck in Uganda, where it killed more than 70 people gathered to watch a World Cup soccer match in Kampala five years ago. Kenya and Uganda have sent their forces to neighboring Somalia to battle the extremists.

As the attacks get more daring, the international community has rallied to fight the militants.

Last year, the U.S. launched an airstrike in Somalia that killed the Al-Shabaab leader. The terror group later replaced him and vowed to avenge his death.

Al-Shabaab started off with a goal of waging a war against the Somali government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or Sharia.

It has since shifted focus to terrorist attacks in Somalia and beyond.

8 Comments on this post.

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  • Delia
    23 February 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Islam is the most barbaric, brutal, merciless cult to ever exist in the name of religion.It is so obvious that the teachings of islam are the problem. right now almost every conflict in the world involves muslims. Then we keep hearing that Islam is religion of peace which is a lie (takiyya). All terrorist are muslims .

    The so called moderates muslims dance in the street, clap their hands and sing , give away candies whenever we are murdered.

    The Quran defines the kafir or infidel (non muslims) by its usage and says that the kafir can be killed, hated, punished, raped, mocked, enslaved, plotted against, beheaded, tortured, insulted, condemned, stolen from, deceived, kidnapped, humiliated and on and on. The Hadith and Sira follow in the same vein.

    Obama is no American, never was, never will be, he is a liar and a fake, who plans to destroy America and bring Islam in to take over. Obama protects Muslim’s, Black criminals, Illegal immigrants and now wants to ship more Muslim’s into the United States. What more does the American people need to see, Democrats cant be that stupid or that greedy for votes to allow this idiot to remain in power. If it does not stop now then when?

    So we have a choice Stand up to Tyranny and Islamic terrorism or die. There is no middle ground despite what our liberal friends would have us believe.

    Pay close attention to the last comment!! Below are a few lines from Obama’s books ” his words:

    #1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”

    #2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”


    #3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”

    #4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”

    #5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

    #6 “Islam has always been part of America”

    “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

  • noz
    23 February 2015 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    obobo aka barack HUSSEIN obama is a closet muslim himself was not able to repeat the oath properly to defend america, and our constitution when he was sworn in. the demonicraps covered up for the muslim obobo with their claimed, obobo was given the oath again in private, indelible doubts to this day, if obobo ever was able to sincerely utter he will defend our nation / our constitution. all of obobo’s actions goes against the oath of the POTUS, instead obobo clearly is the defender of muslims / its islam religion, refusing to admit with his usual lies, that the muslim terrorists are not islam. what a bullshit artist obobo is with his unending monkeyshines.

    case in point – obobo appointees / minions are MUSLIMS:

    1) VALERIE JARRETT – is a muslim, who was born in iran, where her parents still live. she is obobo’s closest advisor and an intimate friend of both micheline oboba / obobo going back in the days of corrupt politics chicago style.

    2) JOHN BRENNAN – studied arabic / speaks arabic fluently, converted to islam while stationed in saudi arabia is currently the head of the CIA. he took his oath on a copy of the constitution, not the historical bible.

    3) ARIF AIKHAM – is a muslim, who is assistant secretary of policy development for homeland security.

    4) MOHAMMED ELIBIARY – is a muslim, who is a homeland security advisor.

    5) SALEM AL-MARAYATI – is a muslim, who is obobo’s advisor / founder of the muslim public affairs council.

    6) IMAM MOHAMED MAGID – is a muslim of the islamic society of north america, who is obobo’s sharia czar. so why is there a need for a sharia czar in the WH?, this should warn americans to really wake up, before its too late to find out the law of the land is SHARIA, by getting rid of the constitution.

    7) EBOO PATEL – is a muslim, who is the advisory council on faith-based neighborhood partnerships.

    et al demonicraps are:

    8) HUMA ABEDIN – is a muslim, the top advisor of killery clunker aka hillary rodham clinton. her mother / brother are suspected terrorists, are involved in the now outlawed muslim brotherhood in egypt.

    9) KEITH ELLISON – is a muslim donkey congressman, who demanded to take his oath on a copy of the qur’an.

    congresswoman michele bachman took noticed of the muslim network of obobo, exposed them to the public, that our government are now overrun by the muslims, for that she was vilified, faulted, feathered by the demonicraps / the lying, limping, lefty medias brainwashing the gullible public.

    obobo’s appointees and his bootlickers are systematically destroying america, supporting radical muslim groups worldwide, opening our southern border, an entry for illegal aliens / muslim terrorists. obobo couldn’t care less, turning a blind eye to the genocide of beheading CHRISTIANS all over africa / the middle east. the more damage obobo does, the more arrogant he’s become. to this day obobo’s top to bottom supporters are still blaming bush43rd of the insurrections of the ISIS / ISIL terrorists, which obobo claimed are not islam / do not belong to islam religion, even if they say, they are in war in the name of islam. so how come obobo is an expert on islam religion, then strongly claimed he is christian, and adamantly denied he is muslim. obobo is given a pass, but one day his lies will catch up on him to self expose his true muslim identity, the same way, he repeatedly say he is against same sex marriage, when in reality he is but one dirty politician, who will do all the dirtiest tricks in the books just to grab the power by getting elected / reelected. it only can get worse, with america / its government has been infiltrated by the muslims, who want to destroy this nation / its non-muslim citizens, who by enlarged are muted, asleep, don’t give a damn / hoot on obobo’s building of america’s bleak future.

    • Enigma
      24 February 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

      The question is how much has the military been defanged? When is the point of no return for the U.S.? This morning I happened to remark that I hope our military is keeping an eye on our out of control government and has the capability to intervene if need be.

      Obama already aiding and abetting the Muslim enemy. He doesn’t have to join them. It’s the 21st Century but we never get beyond racism and a majority of the American people wanted to prove they were not racist so elected a black man of Muslim origin and discovered, HELLO!, he was the biggest racist ever elected to the U.S. presidency.

      It’s pretty clear to me that Obama has no allegiance to the United States, no burning fire of passion in his belly to defend America.
      No, this is not a man who is so much hating his country as he is advancing his own beliefs, covering over the foundational principles of the Republic as a baker would cover a cake with frosting.

      He ignores and delegitimizes our traditions, our laws, our constitution. His sycophants in government and the media fawn over him and attack anyone who would dare question his role as The One.

    • Delia
      24 February 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Does anyone remember this statement from one of the WH Administrations ?

      1. Terminate America’s freedom of speech by replacing it with hate crime bills state-wide and nation-wide.

      2. Wage a war of words using black leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other visible religious personalities to promote Islam as the original African-American’s religion while Christianity is for the whites! Strange enough, no one tells the African-Americans that it was the Arab Muslims who captured them and sold them as slaves, neither the fact that in Arabic the word for black and slave is the same, “Abed.”

      3. Engage the American public in dialogues, discussions, debates in colleges, universities, public libraries, radio, TV, churches and mosques on the virtues of Islam. Proclaim how it is historically another religion like Judaism and Christianity with the same monotheistic faith.

      4. Nominate Muslim sympathizers to political office for favorable legislation to Islam and support potential sympathizers by block voting.

      5. Take control of as much of Hollywood, the press, TV, radio and the internet by buying the corporations or a controlling stock.

      6. Yield to the fear of imminent shut-off of the lifeblood of America – the black gold. America’s economy depends on oil, (1000 products are derived from oil), so does its personal and industrial transportation and manufacturing -41% comes from the Middle East.

      7. Yell, “foul, out-of-context, personal interpretation, hate crime, Zionist, un- American, inaccurate interpretation of the Quran” anytime Islam is criticized or the Quran is analyzed in the public arena.

      8. Encourage Muslims to penetrate the White House, specifically with Islamists who can articulate a marvelous and peaceful picture of Islam. Acquire government positions, get membership in local school boards. Train Muslims as medical doctors to dominate the medical field, research and pharmaceutical companies. Take over the computer industry. Establish Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the U.S. to connect planners of Islamization in a discreet way. Ever notice how numerous Muslim doctors in America are, when their countries need them more desperately than America?

      9. Accelerate Islamic demographic growth via:

      a. Massive immigration (100,000 annually since 1961)

      b. No birth control whatsoever – every baby of Muslim parents is automatically a Muslim and cannot choose another religion later.

      c. Muslim men must marry American women and Islamize them (10,000 annually). Then divorce them and remarry every five years – since one cannot have the Muslim legal permission to marry four at one time. This is a legal solution in America.

      d. Convert angry, alienated black inmates and turn them into militants (so far 2000 released inmates have joined Al Qaida world-wide). Only a few have been captured in Afghanistan and on American soil. So far – sleeping cells!

      10. Reading, writing, arithmetic and research through the American educational system, mosques and student centers (now 1500) should be sprinkled with dislike of Jews, evangelical Christians and democracy. There are 300 exclusively Muslim schools with loyalty to the Quran, not the U.S. Constitution.

      11. Provide very sizeable monetary Muslim grants to colleges and universities in America to establish “Centers for Islamic studies” with Muslim directors to promote Islam in higher education institutions.

      12. Let the entire world know through propaganda, speeches, seminars, local and national media that terrorists have hijacked Islam, not the truth, which is Islam hijacked the terrorists. Furthermore in January of 2002, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Washington mailed 4500 packets of the Quran, videos, promoting Islam to America’s high schools–free. They would never allow us to reciprocate.

      13. Appeal to the historically compassionate and sensitive Americans for sympathy and tolerance towards the Muslims in America who are portrayed as mainly immigrants from oppressed countries.

      14. Nullify America’s sense of security by manipulating the intelligence community with misinformation. Periodically terrorize Americans of impending attacks on bridges, tunnels, water supplies, airports, apartment buildings and malls. (We have experienced this too often since 9-11.)

      15. Form riots and demonstrations in the prison system demanding Islamic Sharia as the way of life, not American’s justice system.

      16. Open numerous charities throughout the U.S. but use the funds to support Islamic terrorism with American dollars.

      17. Raise interest in Islam on America’s campuses by insisting that freshman take at least one course on Islam. Be sure that the writer is a bonafide American, Christian, scholarly and able to cover up the violence in the Quran and express the peaceful, spiritual and religious aspect only.

      18. Unify the numerous Muslim lobbies in Washington, mosques, Islamic student centers, educational organizations, magazines and papers by internet and an annual convention to coordinate plans, propagate the faith and engender news in the media of their visibility.

      19. Send intimidating messages and messengers to the outspoken individuals who are critical of Islam and seek to eliminate them by hook or crook.

      20. Applaud Muslims as loyal citizens of the US by spotlighting their voting record as the highest percentage of all minority and ethic groups in America.

      Its coming true slowly and wont be long now , we will be ruled by sharia if everyone keep on drowning their head under the sand . The pattern has now showing little by little in the open .

  • Enigma
    24 February 2015 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    The more i read this story ,the outrage i get looking at that coward terrorist covered muslim face . Muslim are too coward dispicable snake . They dont know how to fight squarely , they just know how to butcher like chicken $hit . But then again its how their allah taught them to do , so its no surprise how animalistic cowards they are, they have to cover their faces to slither someones throat like they sexually molest a goat .

    • Delia
      26 February 2015 at 10:48 am - Reply

      The bad news about it is , they were telling us 26 Christians beheaded , its actually 400 Christians they behead and taken their organs and selling them.

  • Generoso Magaoay
    24 February 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    How much information does the “Ladder of Inference” really have on Al-Shabaa’s threat to the Canada, U.K. and the U.S. We are relying on some information from CNN and that we have to be vigilant. We have to carefully analyze information disseminated that it is reliable. Additionally, we cannot just jump into conclusion using sensationalized bits of information. We need to continue researching for more credible information.

  • Generoso Magaoay
    24 February 2015 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Just wondering…if these people wearing the “Burka” Farts, where does the smell go? It goes up isn’t it? If that’s the case, i think that it is affecting their judgement and it is worse than being under the influence of alcohol/drugs..?