Homeland Security head expands warning about terrorist threat at Mall of America


The Somali terror group al-Shabaab released a video online Saturday that appears to call for an attack on the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., representing the most specific threat ever issued against the Minnesota landmark.

CBS News reports the video specifically named the MOA, the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, and the Oxford Street shopping area in London.

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson offered little reassurance to shoppers planning a visit to the Mall of America.

"If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they've got to be particularly careful," Johnson said in an interview. "There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it's the environment we're in, frankly."

Shortly after his comments, Minnesota's U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on WCCO to emphasize that Johnson did not mean that people should avoid going to the Mall of America.

"People always need to be vigilant, but they should feel comfortable going to the mall," Klobuchar said, adding that law enforcement on the local, state and national levels "have always been diligent and know that they have to protect that mall."

Al-Shabaab has heavily targeted the Minneapolis area, home to the largest Somali population in the United States, for recruiting. In the video released Saturday, the group discussed its 2013 attack on a mall in Kenya, which left more than 60 people dead, according to WCCO.

"What if such an attack were to occur at the Mall of America in Minnesota?” the narrator says, according to FOX 9.

On Friday, al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for suicide attacks at a hotel in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, that left 25 people dead and 40 wounded, according to CBS News.

Mall of America released a statement in response to the threats, according to FOX 9.

"We will continue to monitor events with the help of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. As always, we take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately. Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions, some may be noticeable to guests, and others won't be. We will continue to follow the situation, along with law enforcement, and will remain vigilant as we always do in similar situations. The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority."

Al-Shabaab is a familiar name in Minnesota. In the past several years it's recruited some two dozen young Somali men who live in the state to fight with the terrorists in Somalia. And in recent months, several Minnesota teens have been arrested for alleged connections with the terror group ISIS.

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