SOMALI militants linked to al-Qaeda have threatened to inflict on the UK a terrorist attack worse than the London bombings of 7 July 2005 for extraditing the Islamist cleric Abu Hamza to the United States.
Al-Shabaab made the threats in a series of messages on Twitter, The Times reports.
One tweet threatened the biggest Islamist terrorist attack yet on Britain: “The nightmare that surreptitiously looms on British shores is bound to eclipse the horrors of 7/7 and 21/7 combined.”
Another read: “Britain will pay the heftiest price for its brazen role in the war against Islam and endless brutality against innocent Muslims.”
Al-Shabaab also said it would “go to every possible length to attain the freedom of imprisoned Muslim scholars”.
Britain extradited Abu Hamza and four other terrorism suspects to the US earlier this month after a lengthy legal battle that went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
Al-Shabaab, which once ruled much of southern Somalia as well as the capital Mogadishu, has recently suffered a string of reversals as Western-backed African Union forces advance.
Last month they were forced out of their last major stronghold, the port of Kismayo. Following that setback, Abdirashid Hashi, Horn of Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group, told The Daily Telegraph ”the die-hards, the idealogues, the foreign fighters, they will march on, probably adopting more guerrilla tactics, IEDs and suicide bombings, including perhaps in Kenya as well as in Somalia”.
Earlier this year, al-Shabaab announced it was merging with al-Qaeda. At the time, The Week’s Robert Fox wrote that this may be a sign that al-Shabaab is under severe pressure in Somalia.
“But it brings the al-Qaeda issue close to home in the UK, too. Many of the al-Shabaab fighters in East Africa carry British passports. They rely heavily on funds and support from the Somali diaspora of around 200,000 in the UK.” ·