Mall Threat: Intel Chief Warns US ‘In a New Phase’

By Dale Hurd

CBN News — U.S. security officials are urging Americans to be vigilant after al Qaeda’s Somali affiliate, al-Shabaab, released an hour-long video on Saturday calling homegrown extremists to attack Western malls, including those in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

The video urges violence at the country’s biggest shopping center, the Mall of America. It’s the first time the group has threatened U.S. shopping malls.

But some shoppers said the threat would not disrupt their routines.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck spoke more about the latest threat from al Shabaab on The 700 Club, Feb. 23.

“I feel like it’s just a fact of life these days with the threat,” one shopper said.

“A little hesitation this morning,” another shopper admitted. “But we talked about it with the kids, and everyone was fine with staying. So, we decided to stay.”

Al Shabaab is the group responsible for the September 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left 67 people dead.

Although no specific plot has been identified, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned Americans to be alert.

“We’re in a new phase now and I’m afraid that this most recent video release reflects that,” he cautioned. “The reason I think we’re all concerned about this is because it encourages independent actors, who could strike with very little notice.”

One more reason authorities are concerned by the threat against the Mall of America is it’s located near Minneapolis in Minnesota. The terrorist group al-Shabaab has recruited fighters from the Muslim population in that region before.

Meanwhile, a desperate search is underway in the Middle East for three British schoolgirls, all teenagers, who authorities say ran away from their homes and their families to join the Islamic State.

The families of the missing girls, last seen in London’s Gatwick Airport, are pleading with them to come home.

“If you’re watching this, baby, please come home. Mom needs you more than anything in the world,” Renu Begum, sister of Shamima Begum, one of the runaway girls, said.

Abase Hussen is the father of Amira Abase, another runaway.

“Get back home. We miss you. We cannot stop crying,” he pleaded.

Hundreds of young women from all around the world are believed to have flocked to ISIS to be brides of jihadi fighters.

Report via CBN News

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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