Tags: Al-Qaida | kenya | mall | Chiarelli | King

Four-Star General: US Targets Militants in Africa

Monday, 23 Sep 2013 10:14 AM

By Lisa Barron

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American forces are devising plans for action against terrorist organizations linked to the weekend's deadly attack at an upscale Nairobi shopping mall.
“They’re developing targets…and refining target lists, trying to fill in any gaps that we possibly have” on potential locations of al-Shabab militant strongholds in Kenya and elsewhere on the African continent,” former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week."

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Somalia-based al-Shabab, which has ties to the North Africa-based al-Qaida in the Islamic Magreb, claimed responsibility for the attack, in which at least 68 people reportedly were killed.

“Intelligence has been gathered and will continue to be gathered to fill in any holes that we have about what happened in this particular attack and what could happen in the future,” said the former four-star general, noting that officials are “doing all of the kinds of things that you would do to get information in what is a very chaotic situation.”

In recent years, al-Shabab and the Nigerian-based terror group Boko Haram have been strengthening their ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Magreb.

In June, the State Department offered a $7 million reward for information on the whereabouts of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, according to The Hill.

"This shows the really growing influence of al-Qaida in Africa," Rep. Peter King, R-NY, said on the same ABC program. “For years, the State Department did not want to declare al-Shabab a terrorist organization. They thought it was focusing on tribal issues. Now, we see, there is certainly an international dimension to them."

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The U.S. military has been beefing up its presence in Africa in response to the growing threat, and now has more troops on the ground than at any point since its 1993 intervention in Somalia, which ended in humiliation and withdrawal after the "Black Hawk Down" debacle in which 18 American soldiers died.

Related story:

CNN: Three Attackers in Kenya Mall Siege Lived in US

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