Terrorists call for attack on shopping centers
A Somalia-based terrorist group, al-Shabab, is urging its sympathizers to carry out attacks on shopping centers in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall were two North American facilities specifically named in a video released by the group, which has been linked to al-Qaeda.
While a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the agency is not aware of any "specific, credible plot against the Mall of America," the Department secretary called on the public to be "vigilant" in an interview on "Meet The Press" on Sunday.
Government sources do not appear to believe al-Shabab has the operational capabilities to carry out an attack in the U.S. similar to that at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013, which killed 67 people. Security experts believe it is more likely that the terrorist group is seeking to inspire "lone wolf" sympathizers to carry out attacks similar to what has happened in Australia, Denmark and France in recent months.
The Mall of America, according to reports, has upped its security level following the release of the video. The mall’s management and merchants report business continues to go on as usual and there is no sign of a drop in customer traffic despite the threat.
The shopping center issued a statement claiming it had "implemented extra security precautions" even if they were not noticeable to those visiting the mall. "The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority," the statement read.
- Homeland security chief: Be ‘vigilant’ at malls – USA Today
- Security Tightened at Mall of America After Terrorist Video Threat – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- US security chief warns shoppers after terror threat – BBC News
- Mall of America shoppers take terror alert in stride – Star Tribune (tiered sub.)
- Norway Muslims Encircle Synagogue to Support Jews – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Should Kenya be a wake-up call? – RetailWire
Do you see shopping center and retail store security in the U.S. changing as a result of threats from terrorist groups and their sympathizers? Will increased security measures at shopping centers be something that American shoppers support?