The U.S. homeland security chief said today (February 22, 2015) that he takes seriously a threat by Somali-based Islamist militants against prominent shopping sites in Western nations -- including the Mall of America in Minnesota -- and urged people there to be careful, according to the Reuters website.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was reacting to a video attributed to al Shabaab calling for attacks on Western shopping areas, specifically mentioning Mall of America, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, London's Oxford Street, and sites in Paris.
"This latest statement from al Shabaab reflects the new phase we've evolved to in the global terrorist threat, in that you have groups such as al Shabaab and ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] publicly calling for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks," Johnson told the CNN program "State of the Union" today.
Asked about the threat to Minnesota's Mall of America -- one of the world's largest shopping areas -- Johnson said: "Anytime a terrorist organization calls for an attack on a specific place, we've got to take that seriously." He advised people going to the Mall of America to be especially careful.