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Malls on Alert After Terror Threat; LAPD Says Not to Worry

American mall-goers may think twice about heading out shopping since Somali terror group Al-Shabaab’s threat on U.S. shopping centers, specifically Minnesota’s Mall of America. San Diego has been connected to multiple terror suspects, a fact which raises questions about the county’s preparedness for a potential attack. Shoppers, however, remain undeterred.

 

 

Al-Shabaab is an Islamic terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. The video that threatens malls in the United States also calls for attacks on malls in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Last year, a U.S. citizen who had lived in San Diego was found dead in Syria, believed to have died fighting alongside ISIS. In 2012, a San Diego woman, Nima Yusuf was sentenced for conspiring with Minnesota al-Shabaab recruiters to recruit for and provide money to al-Shabaab. Two 9/11 terrorists leaned to fly at an airfield in the San Diego area, and 9/11-associated terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki lived and taught at a mosque in the San Diego area.

In nearby Los Angeles, Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing, head of the counter-terrorism unit, said, “We have to not be paranoid or over-anxious about this,” according to CBS Los Angeles KCAL-9. ““It’s not like there’s any imminent attack.”

Still, CBS L.A. reported, LAPD officials have contacted shopping mall operators regarding basic security.

Newport Beach Assistant Police Chief David McGill told CBS L.A. that the department has increased patrols around the local Fashion Island mall, but has not received any specific threat.

The Mall of America in Minneapolis ran a five minute lockdown drill Monday in response to the terrorist threat.

Shoppers at San Diego’s Westfield Mall in Mission Valley told 10 News that they are not concerned with the threats. One said she it would not stop her from shopping or going to the movies. Shopper Pixie Rodriguez told Team 10 that she sees potential for danger anywhere she goes, inferring that the mall is no different.

Westfield Corp. issued a statement saying, “There is no evidence of an imminent threat to our shopping centres but as always Westfield Corporation will take every available step to keep our shopping centres safe for staff, retailers and customers. Westfield Corporation’s policy is to not publicly discuss security procedures, however our heads of security in the US and UK continue to coordinate their activities with police and government agencies. As usual significant resources continue to be devoted to security arrangements in our shopping centres and they continue to operate as normal.” Westfield operates 18 shopping centers in California alone, according to its website.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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