World View: Large Terrorist Shopping Mall Attack in Kenya Continues into Third Day

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Large terrorist shopping mall attack in Kenya continues into third day
  • Minnesota Somalis are a known source of terrorists
  • Christian church worshippers killed by attack in Peshawar, Pakistan
  • Baghdad terror attack pushes monthly death toll over 500
  • New killings make Chicago the murder capital of America

Large terrorist shopping mall attack in Kenya continues into third day

Soldiers move up stairs inside Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya on Saturday (CNN)
Soldiers move up stairs inside Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya on Saturday (CNN)

A large, well-planned terrorist attack on the upscale Westlake Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is continuing into a third day, although authorities are now promising "a speedy conclusion," as of this writing on late Sunday evening.

At 68 have been killed so far, 175 have been injured in the attack that began on Saturday, and there are believed to be about 30 hostages, though some have been rescued. Among the dead are the nephew of Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta, and the nephew's fiancee. In addition, a Canadian diplomat has been killed.

The perpetrators are al-Shabaab, a Somalian offshoot of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Shabaab have been terrorizing Somalia, the country next door to Kenya for years. Starting in 2010, Kenya's troops and African Union troops have been fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia, and have significantly reduced Al-Shabaab influence.

The attack was well coordinated, with gunfire and grenades coming from multiple entrances, and appeared to have been in the planning stages for months. It's being compared to the terrorist attack on a Mumbai hotel in 2008. (See "After Mumbai's '26/11' nightmare finally ends, India - Pakistan relations face crisis" from 2008.) That attack killed 126 people in three days, and injured 327 people. As the terrorists were from Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan, the attack almost led to war between India and Pakistan.

According to al-Shabaab on a twitter account, the terrorists are from America, Canada, Britain, Finland and Somalia. CNN

Minnesota Somalis are a known source of terrorists

Of the three terrorists from the United States, two are from the Somali community in the twin cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) region of Minnesota.

The first wave of Somali refugees came to America in 1991 and were relocated to Minneapolis, where there was a need for workers. The refugees were so successful that their relatives soon followed, and today there are 40-80 thousand Somalis living in the region, including many that were born there and are American citizens.

However, this large community of Somali refugees also provides a recruitment opportunity for al-Shabaab, and the FBI has been raising concerns as recently as last month about al-Shabaab training videos directed specifically at the Somali community in Minnesota. Called "Minnesota Martyrs, the Path to Paradise," the video encourages disaffected Minnesota Somalians to travel to Somalia for terrorist training, and return to the U.S. to use those skills.

As a precaution, the Mall of America in Minnesota, the largest Mall in the United States, capable of holding almost 10,000 people, has been holding "lockdown drills" since 2009. Each drill lasts about ten minutes, and loudspeakers ask all mall customers to flee to the nearest store. All stores are closed during the drill, and customers are instructed to hide in the back of the store. CBS Minnesota and Twincities.com

Christian church worshippers killed by attack in Peshawar, Pakistan

The worst attack ever on a Christian church in Pakistan occurred on Sunday when two suicide attackers blew themselves up while 400 worshippers were greeting each other at the end of the Sunday service, in the northwest Pakistan city of Peshawar. The attack triggered clashes between Christians and police in the southern port city of Karachi. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP - the Pakistani Taliban) claimed credit for the attack, and blamed it on American drone attacks. The News (Pakistan)

Baghdad terror attack pushes monthly death toll over 500

At least 16 people were killed after a suicide bomber targeted mourners in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. A further 35 people were wounded in an attack in Doura, which came a day after a triple bombing at a funeral in Baghdad's Shia Muslim stronghold of Sadr City killed at least 85 people. The surge in bombings in recent weeks has pushed the monthly death toll to over 500. Al-Jazeera

New killings make Chicago the murder capital of America

Since Friday, 11 people were shot in Chicago, five of them fatally. 13 people were injured in a shooting on Thursday, including a 3-year-old boy. This week, Chicago became "the nation's murder capital," with 500 murders in 2012, had more killings than any other U.S. city that year. USA Today


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