Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, in a statement on Wednesday, urged Somalia’s Al Shabaab terrorists to fight back against what he called “crusader invaders,” the Kenyan and Nigerian military forces assisting the Somali security forces.
While the security forces claimed they pushed the al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab insurgents out of Somalia’s main urban areas which they took over in their five-year-old revolt, the capital city of Mogadishu remains vulnerable to militant attacks.
For example, on Sunday two members of the deadly Islamic terrorist group attacked a restaurant in the Somali capital wearing suicide bombs. They killed three security officers who attempted to prevent them from entering the local eatery, according to an Israeli source.
Although no group or individual took responsibility for the bombings, intelligence and police officials believe the culprits are the Al Shabaab terrorists who have conducted similar terrorist attacks in the past.
The U.S. State Department in a statement claims that al-Qaeda and its offshoots pose a serious security challenge even after being forced out of several cities and towns in Somalia.
Al Shabaab had been driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and struggles elsewhere in Somalia, according to the Somali government. The al-Qaeda ally has been under attack from Kenyan, Ethiopian and African Union forces trying to prevent the spreading of Islamic militancy from Somalia.
It’s widely known that hundreds of Kenyan youths and foreigners who had joined Al Shabaab, an ally of al-Qaeda, secretly entered Kenya in order to carryout terrorist attacks on Christian churches and public assembly facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa.
In September, Al Shabaab suicide bombers attacked a hotel where Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was giving a news conference alongside the visiting Kenyan foreign minister. Both leaders survived the attack, but eight other people were killed in the blast.