A new video for the al-Qaeda linked Somali terror group al-Shabaab is calling for an attack on Mall of America. The Bloomington, Minn. megamall is among a trio of Western malls specifically named in the video, along with the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Oxford Street shopping area in London.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the 2013 attack on the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 60 people over 4 days. More recently, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Friday, Feb. 20 suicide attacks at a hotel in Mogadishu that killed 25 people.
This isn't the first time Mall of America has been the subject of a threat, and they're taking this video extremely seriously. In a statement, MOA said they've already ramped up security and are tracking the situation very closely.
Mall of America statement
"Mall of America is aware of a video that was recently released which included a mention and images of the Mall. We will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. As always, we take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately. Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions, some may be noticeable to guests, and others won't be. We will continue to follow the situation, along with law enforcement, and will remain vigilant as we always do in similar situations. The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority."
The al-Shabaab video shows 6 minutes of graphic images celebrating the Westgate Mall attack – an attack the narrator makes perfectly clear he'd like to duplicate in Minnesota.
"What if such an attack were to occur at the Mall of America in Minnesota?" the narrator says.
Fighting terror recruitment in Minnesota
Local Somali leaders have long worried about the recruitment of their youth. In recent years, more than two dozen men have left to fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia. And in recent months, multiple Minnesota teens have been arrested for alleged connections with terror groups like ISIS.
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Now, some worry, a corner has been turned.
"This is gonna happen," said Omar Jamal, CEO of American Friends of Somalis. "The question is where it's going to happen and when it is going to happen. That's why we need people to be informed about this."
Jamal believes building trust between law enforcement and Somalis is the only way you stop an attack like this. In the meantime, this threat is at the top of the list for both state and federal authorities.
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