New video urges militants to target centres in London, US
ISLAMIST terrorists have called for attacks on London’s Oxford Street and the Westfield shopping centres in the latest jihadist threat to the UK. A video released by Somaliabased fanatics al-Shabaab called on its followers to “hasten to heaven” by attacking some of the country’s busiest shopping areas.
It also threatened venues in America and Canada as well as “Jewish-owned” centres.
Counter-terrorism police in the UK were assessing the video while the head of US homeland security warned shoppers to be “particularly careful”.
The video, which lasts more than an hour and was released at the weekend, centred on the fall-out from al-Shabaab’s attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya in 2013 that left 62 people dead and more than 100 injured.
A terrorist dressed in army fatigues and his face covered then warned: “Can you imagine what a dedicated mujahideen [soldier] in the West could do to the American and Jewishowned shopping centres across the world.”
He names Oxford Street and the two Westfield centres in London, alongside coordinates for them, adding: “What would be the implications of such an attack, one can only imagine, and all it takes is a man with firm determination, of which our Muslim ummah [community] has plenty. So hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate.”
He warned that disbelievers had no right to feel safe.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the video and is assessing the content.”
US Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson said the call for locally based militants to attack prominent shopping districts, also including the giant Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, represented a new evolution in terror.
“This latest statement from al-Shabaab reflects the new phase we’ve evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as alShabaab and IS publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks,” Johnson said.
“We’re beyond the phase now where these groups would send foreign operatives into countries after being trained some place.”
Asked specifically about the threat to Mall of America, one of the world’s largest shopping complexes, he said: “We’ve got to take that seriously. I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful.”
Minnesota is home to a sizeable Somali population and US intelligence has said dozens of people have travelled or attempted to travel overseas to support groups such as Islamic State or al-Shabaab since 2007.
– The Telegraph