10 Things to Know About Somali Militants Al-Shabab
What Is Al-Shabab?
Here are 10 things to know about al-Shabab, the Somali Islamic extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the attack on Kenya's premier shopping mall that killed dozens of civilians. -- Associated Press
Al-Shabab is an extremist Islamic terrorist force that grew out of the anarchy that crippled Somalia after warlords ousted a longtime dictator in 1991. Its name means "The Youth" in Arabic, and it was a splinter youth wing of a weak Islamic Courts Union government created in 2006 to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the East African nation. Al-Shabab is estimated to have several thousand fighters, including a few hundred foreign fighters. Some of the insurgents' foreign fighters are from the Middle East with experience in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Others are young, raw recruits from Somali communities in the United States and Europe. U.S. officials have expressed fears that militants fleeing Afghanistan and Pakistan could seek refuge in Somalia.
In this image, trucks of soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive after dawn outside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. (Photo: AP Photo/Ben Curtis)