Somali militants threaten U.S. attacks to avenge leader's death

MOGADISHU Tue Sep 9, 2014 1:06pm EDT

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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali Islamist militants have threatened attacks in east Africa and the United States, warning President Barack Obama he would hear "shocking news" as punishment for a U.S. missile strike that killed the rebel group's leader last week.

Al Shabaab made the threats late on Monday, hours after launching twin attacks inside Somalia against African peacekeepers and a government convoy. The death toll from those bombings rose to at least 18 on Tuesday, police said.

"Let our mujahideen (fighters) wait for good news. And let Obama wait for shocking news," senior al Shabaab official, Fuad Mohamed Khalaf Shongole, said in a recorded message, promising to avenge the death of Ahmed Godane in a U.S. raid on Sept. 1.

Al Shabaab demonstrated its ability to strike abroad on Sept. 21, 2013, when the group launched an attack on the upscale Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 67 people.

Godane publicly claimed responsibility for that assault, saying it was revenge for Kenyan and Western involvement in Somalia and noting its proximity to the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

He was also the group's leader in 2010 when a series of bombs it let off in the Ugandan capital Kampala killed 74.

Shongole's message, which was released over the Internet, threatened further attacks in Kenya and Uganda.

"As you have killed (Godane), many Americans will be killed in New York and Washington. This is real. Men have already been prepared," he added.

'LIFESPAN ENDING'

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told state radio he was confident al Shabaab's "lifespan is ending", referring to a campaign launched by African force AMISOM and Somalian forces to drive the militants out of their remaining strongholds.

"We say to the terrorists, your time has ended," he said.

The group was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 but has continued to hold other towns and tracts of territory. AMISOM and Somali troops regained several towns earlier this year from the group, whose stronghold is south and central Somalia.

Al Shabaab has staged hit-and-run bomb and gun attacks even as it has lost ground, with Monday's strikes coming shortly after the group named a new leader, Ahmad Umar, who is also known as Abu Ubaidah, to replace Godane.

All those killed on Monday came in the first blast, when a car bomb targeted an AMISOM convoy and ripped apart a nearby minibus.

"The bus was carrying over twenty people and only two survived," Major Hussein Ahmed, a senior police officer, told Reuters. "We are afraid the death is higher than that, as some mothers were carrying their babies on their laps."

A nurse at a Mogadishu hospital, Halima Ibrahim, said 25 people were being treated - 16 civilians from the first car bomb and nine soldiers from a second attack on a Somali security convoy. Many were seriously hurt and burnt, she said.

Al Shabaab, which literally means "the Youths", wants to impose its strict version of Islam on Somalia.

(Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Edmund Blair and John Stonestreet)

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Comments (4)
njglea wrote:
Bring it on, boys and girls. We are all waiting for you. Try to attack the United States and you will see what average Americans think of your common criminal mass-murdering ways. President Obama speaks and acts for the vast majority of us.

Sep 09, 2014 11:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jbsds wrote:
One can only hope that targeting these terror groups will put their fires completely out, so we are not left with lingering flare ups from a few individuals. It is so sad and senseless all this killing. I really believe the US just wants to stop the killing and not retaliate or have these attacks on the terrorist leaders as warning or show of muscle. The world is tired of all these stupid, insane killers. And I guess Obama is doing this as his way of ending their madness. It comes to a point of what else can we do?

Sep 09, 2014 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sorrymess wrote:
no answer to extremism ,ok usa can bomb somalia but i am sure from exoeriences it will haunt the usa,.
better to build Clinics on east africa coast and Train the staff in moderen medicine,.
lots more europe can do for east africa,.

Sep 10, 2014 6:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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