Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that the “particularly brutal” attack on an upscale shopping mall in Kenya shows the growing influence of al Qaeda and its affiliates in Africa.
“When I was chairman of the Homeland Security Committee two years ago, I conducted a hearing on al Shabaab. It's extremely deadly organization, very well trained,” King said. “And it's one of the only al Qaeda affiliates which actually has actively recruited here in the United States.”
“At least 40 to 50 Somali-Americans have gone from the United States to Somalia to be trained. A number of them have been killed, but there's other still alive. … I would assume that the FBI and local law enforcement are looking into those Somalia-American communities today if any leads or indicators using all their sources and resources to make sure there's no follow-up attempt here in the United States.”
A Kenyan minister said the death toll in the attack rose to 59 Sunday morning, according to The Associated Press, which reported 175 people were wounded and 49 more were missing. “You have al Shabaab now in Somalia going off into Kenya, carrying out an attack outside its own country,” King said.
“So we're talking about very significant terrorist groups here which are showing a capacity to attack outside of their boarders and actually recruit people from here in the United States.”
“This is a particularly brutal attack,” King said. “And it almost seems as if the terror world was coming full cycle, because one of the first major attacks we recall against the United States was the attack on the embassies back in 1998.”
King said that the attack shows al Qaeda and its affiliates “are still extremely powerful and still able to really strike terror into the hearts of people, attacking a shopping mall, it has no military significance at all. This is clearly an attack to terrorize and murder innocent civilians."