Somali leaders in Rochester call terror group's video 'desperate'
(THE MED CITY BEAT) - The Somali community in Minnesota is condemning a terror group's call for an attack on the Mall of America in Bloomington.
"I think this is more of a mixture of a bluff and of a desperate threat,” said Ahmed Osman, the employment program manager with the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association in Rochester, according to a report by KTTC-TV.
Over the weekend, the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab purportedly released a video calling on followers to wage attacks on shopping centers across the West. It specifically mentioned the Mall of America by name.
Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, told MPR News that the militant group is trying to generate fear after recent losses to government forces.
"Al-Shabab group has been reduced to a small core of individuals," he said. "They have lost the bigger fight and for them to remain legitimate they have to create more chaos and confusion."
The Mall of America, which attracts about 40 million visitors annually, has implemented extra security precautions. However, authorities insist there is no "credible threat" of a planned attack.
"I believe the Mall of America is a very safe place,” said Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Pott, according to a report by the Star Tribune. “We encourage people to come on out.”
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2013 that killed 67 people and left more than 175 others injured.
Minnesota is home to the nation's largest population of Somali-Americans, many of whom fled Somalia as refugees. At least 20 young ethnic Somalis have left Minnesota since 2007 to join the terror group.