Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is warning Americans to pay close attention to a "rising wave of Islamic extremism in Africa."
Rubio made his comments in a column posted by The Hill on Monday.
"The American public's attention may have shifted away from radical Islamic terrorists, but that doesn't mean jihadists have stopped sowing death and destruction," he wrote. "Nor did the recent death of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri end the terrorist threat. On the contrary, extremists continue to spread instability and chaos across the globe.
"Al-Qaeda affiliates are particularly gaining ground in Mali, especially as France withdraws its forces in response to the military coup in Bamako. The jihadists are already turning the country into a launching pad for attacks throughout the region, and Al-Qaeda’s leadership is thrilled at the prospect of additional victories."
Rubio noted that the goals of those groups extend beyond Africa.
"They are part of the same network responsible for killing thousands of Americans, in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in the attacks on U.S. embassies in 1998, in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, and on 9/11," Rubio wrote. "It is clear they intend to target the U.S. again — and with our southern border out of control due to the Biden administration’s failures, they have a ready way to infiltrate our country.
"That's why we can't afford to let Islamic extremists overtake Africa. Fortunately, Western forces are the most effective counter-terrorists on the continent. It was the U.S. military that removed Algerian Al-Qaeda leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar in 2015, and it was a French strike that killed AQIM emir Mohammad Droukdel We must continue to replicate those efforts."
Rubio said further gains in Africa by the extremists will mean "terrible suffering" for the people there. He said it will also mean greater danger of attacks targeting the U.S. and its allies.
"The West must stay vigilant against this growing threat and work together to combat it," he wrote.
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