Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents called on Wednesday for more foreign militants to join them in the failed Horn of Africa state after US forces killed one of the region’s most wanted Al Qaeda suspects.
The US forces operation that killed Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, in remote southern Somalia on Monday has triggered an angry response from Islamist rebels fighting the nation’s UN-backed government.
The raid likely gained Washington valuable counter-terrorism intelligence, but risked further inflaming anti-Western opinion in a country of growing concern, experts say.
Nabhan, who was wanted over a truck bombing that killed 15 people at an Israeli-owned beach hotel in Kenya in 2002 and a simultaneous but failed missile attack on a Israeli airliner as it left nearby Mombasa, was allied with al Shabaab.
Washington says al Shabaab is Al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia.
“We call for all Muslim fighters in the world to come to Somalia,” Sheikh Mahad Abdikarim, commander of al Shabaab forces in Bay and Bakol regions, told a news conference in Baidoa town.
He also referred to an African Union peacekeeping mission that is backing President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s administration.