Somalia's Shaba'ab has officially joined the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the news Thursday in a video posted on jihadi Internet forums.
“Today I have glad tidings for the Muslim umma (nation) that will please the believers and disturb the disbelievers, which is the joining of the Shaba'ab al-Mujahedeen movement in Somalia to Qaedat al-Jihad to support the jihadi unity against the Zionist-Crusader campaign and their assistants and their assistants amongst the treacherous agent rulers,” Zawahiri said in the video.
Also in the footage, translated by the SITE monitoring service, was an audio recording of Sheikh Abu Zubeyir, the leader of the Shaba'ab, pledging allegiance to Zawahiri.
Al-Shaba'ab has been fighting the Western-backed Somali government for years, and controls large areas of the country. Kenya sent officials to Israel in 2010 in order to learn how to combat the menace on its borders, even as the Somali government has continued to try and clear the terrorists from its midst.
A spokesman for the terrorists on Thursday claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing Wednesday in the Hotel Muna in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. At least 15 people were killed and 20 others were wounded, including six members of parliament. The attack came one day after new special European Union envoy to the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos, had been in the city to meet with government officials at the presidential palace.
The two groups have been linked for years, but it took the assassination of Al Qaeda founder and former leader Osama Bin Laden for the Somali terrorist group to commit itself as a direct part of the organization.