Somalia's al Shabaab members called on Wednesday for more foreign fighters to support them against foreign forces in the Horn of Africa state after U.S. forces assassinated a suspected Kenya bomber.
The U.S. special forces killed Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, in a helicopter raid remote southern Somalia on Monday has triggered an angry response from al-Shabaab fighting the nation's U.N.-backed government.
Nabhan, who was wanted to question 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.
"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.
"If Burundians and Ugandans, who are not Muslims, are allowed to stay in Somalia, who can refuse our Muslim brothers to join us in the struggle?" Abdikarim asked.
Western security agencies say the country, where fighting has killed more than 18,000 civilians since the start of 2007, has become a safe haven for militants, including foreign jihadists, who use it to plot attacks in the region and beyond.
The U.S. military has launched several airstrikes inside Somalia in the past against individuals.
Abdikarim, the al Shabaab commander, denounced Washington.
"Anybody who believes that America has a veto ... is an infidel with no faith. We must prepare to liberate Afghanistan, Palestine and the al Aqsa mosque," he told reporters.
ReutersLast Mod: 16 Eylül 2009, 13:56