While American efforts to combat international terrorism continue to focus on the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, other regions have become safe havens for militant Islamist groups. This terror threat became a reality when an operative of an al Qaeda franchise based in Yemen tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane with nearly three hundred people on board, on Christmas Day 2009.
Today, a terror threat is growing in Somalia, across from Yemen on the Gulf of Aden. A militant Islamist group called al Shabaab (resembling a hybrid of al Qaeda and the Taliban) has explicitly threatened to attack the United States. This terror group has established radical Islamist administrations that govern large parts of southern Somalia -- more territory than any other militant Islamist group in the world. It operates terrorist training camps, views itself as part of the global jihad led by Osama bin Laden, has dozens of operatives from the United States and Europe, and has followed through on previous threats made against Somali targets. The threat posed by al Shabaab is real and imminent, and Americans should not be surprised if the group tries to attack the U.S.
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