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September 25, 2013

Westgate Attack Underscores Al Shabaab’s Battle With Jews And Israel

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab, said that in addition to Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia, the terrorist group attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi because it is a place “where there are Jewish and American shops. So we have to attack them.”al-shabaab-symbol-al-qaeda

Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked ter­ror­ist group that claimed respon­si­bil­ity for attack­ing the West­gate mall on Sat­ur­day, has previously declared an “open bat­tle” against Israel, which it deems the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity,” and Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa.

In 2012, Kenyan sup­port­ers of Al Shabaab published a pre­dom­i­nantly Swahili-language online ter­ror­ist mag­a­zine fea­turing English-language arti­cles that describe Jews as “the worst enemy of Islam.” The mag­a­zine, titled Gaidi Mtaani, roughly trans­lated as “Ter­ror­ism Street,” cast “the Zion­ist with their Amer­i­can part­ners” as the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the “cru­sade” in Soma­lia and crit­i­cized the Kenyan pres­i­dent for trav­el­ing to Israel to secure Israeli coop­er­a­tion for coun­tert­er­ror­ism efforts. 

gaidi-mtaani-magazine kenya-shabaab-adl

Screenshot from Gaidi Mtaani

The authors warned that they will not “dif­fer­en­ti­ate between civil­ians and com­bat­ants” and called on Kenya’s cit­i­zens to “reflect on the mag­ni­tude of what is yet to come,” cit­ing the 1998 bomb­ing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya that killed over 200 people.

Israeli inter­ests had previously been tar­geted by Al Qaeda in Kenya, includ­ing an attempt to shoot down an Israeli air­liner and an attack on an Israeli-owned resort in 2002.

In November 2009, Al Shabaab announced the establishment of Al Quds Brigade, a military unit specifically tasked with attacking Israel and freeing “Islamic holy places” from the Israelis.

See ADL’s Report: Al Shabaab’s Amer­i­can Recruits

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