Shabaab released a two-page statement saying the Jan. 15 attack at a hotel in Nairobi was conducted in accordance with Ayman al Zawahiri’s “guidelines.” The al Qaeda arm has other reasons for striking inside Kenya as well, including the government’s role in the guerrilla war in Somalia.
The jihadist group continues to launch large-scale attacks inside Kenyan territory.
Shabaab has managed to launch 418 attacks of different types during the six-month timeframe in support of its persistent and ongoing insurgency against Somalia’s weak central government and allied African Union forces.
Shabaab continues to claim deadly attacks on Kenyan Defense Forces inside Kenya despite military operations against it.
The State Department has amended the terrorist designation of Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, to include Al-Hijra, which has served as Shabaab’s “wing” in Kenya. In the past, according to the UN, Al-Hijra has played a key role in Shabaab’s planning of terrorist attacks.
Two busy markets in southern Somalia were targeted by deadly explosions this week, which left at least 14 people dead and many others wounded.
Shabaab has claimed a number of attacks in recent days across southern Somalia, including briefly recapturing the strategic town of Balad just north of Mogadishu.
Over the past three weeks, dozens of people in Kenya have been killed by Shabaab in assaults and improvised explosive device attacks.