Islamists have called for terror attacks on London’s Oxford Street and Westfield shopping centres in a video released by Somali group al Shabaab.
The militants also threatened areas of the United States and Canada as well as “Jewish-owned” areas.
The video was released over the weekend and showed an Islamist in army fatigues with his face covered warning. He spoke of the group’s attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya in 2013 that left 62 people dead, adding: “Can you imagine what a dedicated mujahideen in the West could do to the American and Jewish-owned shopping centres across the world?”
He then mentions Oxford Street and the two Westfield shopping centres in London, giving coordinates for them before saying: “What would be the implications of such an attack, one can only imagine and all it takes is a man with firm determination, of which our Muslim ummah (community) has plenty of.
“So hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate.”
He also called for local militants to attack places such as the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada.
A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said: “The MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the video and is assessing the content.
“We remind the public that downloading extremist material may constitute an offence.”
US homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson said the focus on locally-based militants represents a new phase in terror. He told CNN: “The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is aware of the video and is assessing the content.
“We’re beyond the phase now where these groups would send foreign operatives into countries after being trained some place.”
Speaking of the threat to Mall of America, Johnson added: “Anytime a terrorist organisation calls for an attack on a specific place, we’ve got to take that seriously.”
“I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful.”