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Somalia Interior Minister Killed by Al Qaeda Locals

Somalia's interior minister killed in a suicide bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, by the al-Shabab terrorist group.
By Chana Ya'ar and Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/13/2011, 2:21 AM / Last Update: 6/13/2011, 2:16 AM

A local Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group has murdered Somalia's interior minister.

On Friday, Interior Minister Abdishakur Sheik Hassan was killed in a suicide bombing at his home in the capital, Mogadishu. Local sources said the suspected bomber may have been a female relative, according to Newstime Africa.

Major Paddy Ankunda of the African Union peacekeeping force backing the UN-backed interim government said his forces were on high alert following the assassination.

The attack came after a threat Thursday by the Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terrorist group, which vowed to carry out “brazen attacks deep inside enemy territory” – a reference to government-controlled areas of the capital.

Al-Shabab – meaning “the youth” in Arabic – represents the largest of several Islamist and other clan militias fighting Somalia's fragile transitional government. The group is led by Muktar Ali Robow, whose nom de guerre is Abu Mansoor.

The group, dedicated to implementing Sharia (Islamic law) in Somalia, has fought Somalia's government since its inception in late 2006.

Formerly the military wing of the deposed Islamic Court Union (ICU), its members controlled central and southern Somalia. But when ICU leader Sharif Ahmed was sworn in as president of the Somalia government, his former comrades-in-arms accused him of betraying their cause.

Refusing to participate in talks with the new government, Al-Shabab instead vowed to topple the new regime. Its founder, Aden Hashi Ayro, reportedly had trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He used that knowledge to recruit new members and to terrorize nearly the entire country.

The group appears on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations and is reported to have attracted members from other African nations, Yemen and Pakistan.

In addition, the FBI has expressed concern that the group is also recruiting Western nationals to fight in Somalia.

Al-Shabab has also threatened to attack neighboring Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. Following these threats a delegation of parliamentarians, security officials, and diplomats from Kenya visited Israel last year to learn about standing up to radical Islamic terror.