Somali rebels call for foreign reinforcements

Somalia’s al Shabaab insurgents called today 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 Special Forces operation that killed Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, in remote southern Somalia has triggered an angry response from Islamist rebels fighting the nation’s UN-backed government, Reuters reports.
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 an 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.
“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.
The raid marked an apparent change in tactics for the US military, which has previously targeted wanted militants in Somalia using missiles, as opposed to helicopter-borne troops.
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 US military has launched several airstrikes inside Somalia in the past against individuals including those blamed for the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
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.

Pic: Al -Shabaab insurgents from Somalia