A video purported to be by Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked rebel group al-Shabab urged Muslims to attack shopping malls in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other Western countries.
US authorities said there was “no credible” evidence suggesting a US mall attack was in the works.
The threat by the al-Qaida affiliate came in the final minutes of a more than hourlong video released Saturday in which the extremists also warned Kenya of more attacks like the September 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed.
The masked narrator concluded by calling on Muslims to attack shopping malls, specifically naming the Mall of America in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, as well as the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield mall in Stratford, England. The authenticity of the video could not be immediately verified by The Associated Press.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security provided local law enforcement agencies and private sector partners with “relevant information regarding the recent al-Shabab propaganda video,” DHS press secretary Marsha Catron said in a statement.
“However, we are not aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center,” Catron said.
The Bloomington Police Department said additional security measures had been put in place at the Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the nation.
Speaking earlier on morning talk shows in the US, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the video “the new phase” of the global terrorist threat and warned the public to be vigilant.
“These groups are relying more and more on independent actors to become inspired, drawn to the cause and they’ll attack on their own,” Johnson said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I am very concerned about serious potential threats of independent actors here in the United States. We’ve seen this now in Europe, we’ve seen this in Canada.”
Asked about the specific threat against the Mall of America, Johnson said: “Any time a terrorist organization calls for an attack