Terror group al-Shabaab posted a video online over the weekend calling for attacks on the Mall of America in Minnesota and other Western shopping malls, though US officials say no evidence exists suggesting an imminent attack.
Al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group linked with al Qaeda, was responsible for the 2013 attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya that killed at least 67 people.
In the hour-long video posted Saturday, a masked man finished his remarks by calling on Muslims to attack shopping malls, calling out the Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield Mall in England, according to Fox News.
Both US officials and the Mall of America have said they do not have any evidence of imminent threats on the mall, but will remain wary in surveying threats.
“We will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies,” Mall of America said in a 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. We will continue to follow the situation, along with law enforcement, and will remain vigilant as we always do in similar situations.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told CNN on Sunday that even though the US government believes there is no imminent threat, he is concerned by the rise in so-called lone wolf attacks inspired by Islamic militants.
“I am very concerned about serious potential threats of independent actors here in the United States. We’ve seen this now in Europe; we’ve seen this in Canada,” Mr Johnson said. “Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously. What we’re telling the public is you’ve got to be vigilant. There will be enhanced security there that will be apparent, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important.”
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