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September 25, 2013 0

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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