Mall of America threatened in al-Shabaab video

By Mary Divine
mdivine@pioneerpress.com

The Mall of America parking lots were full on Sunday afternoon a day after a threat came from a terrorist organization in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)
The Mall of America parking lots were full on Sunday afternoon a day after a threat came from a terrorist organization in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)

Mall of America officials increased security on Saturday after a terror group linked to al-Qaida released an online video that appears to call for an attack on the popular shopping destination.

Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab specifically named the Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta and London’s Oxford Street in the more than hourlong video that was being circulated on Twitter.

On Sunday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson urged visitors to the Mall of America to be “particularly careful.”

“I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” he told host Gloria Borger on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

 

Federal law enforcement officials told CBS News that they are investigating the video.

Mall of America officials released a statement Saturday saying that they were aware of the video that mentions the megamall and shows an image of it and its GPS coordinates.

“We will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” according to the statement. “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.”

In 2013, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya; more than 60 people were killed in the four-day siege.

The video posted Saturday shows six minutes of graphic images celebrating the Westgate Mall attack. Near the end of the video, a masked man wearing a camouflage jacket appears on screen.

“If just a handful of mujahedeen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week then imagine what a dedicated mujahedeen in the West could do to the American or Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world?” he asks.

A police car sits outside one of the main entrances of the Mall of America on Sunday afternoo, a day after a threat came from a terrorist organization in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Pioneer Press: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo)

“What if such an attack were to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London’s Oxford Street? … What would be the implications of such an attack? One could only imagine. And all it takes is a man with firm determination … so hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate.”

On Friday, the Somali-based group claimed responsibility for suicide attacks at a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, that left 25 people dead and 40 wounded.

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