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Mall Terror: Lone Wolf Threat Is Real, Say Officials

BY TOM WINTER AND ROBERT WINDREM

ficials say publicly there is no "credible threat" of an attack on America's shopping malls, despite an on-line "call to action" by terror group al Shabab -- but behind the scenes authorities are taking the threat seriously, because previous calls to action have been heeded by violent "lone wolves."

Last October a soldier was shot and killed in Ottawa just steps from Parliament in what Canadian officials called a terrorist act. The FBI says a bloody hatchet attack on NYPD officers the same month was also terrorism. Both attacks came after ISIS urged lone offenders in the West to attack "soldiers, patrons and troops" and members of law enforcement.

"Calls to action are a way a terrorist group like al Shabab can project itself without expending resources," said a U.S. counterterrorism official. "It's a way to awaken and embolden those who may not be in contact with the group but share their values. And unless there's some other information out there … they are in our blind spot."

Al Shabab, a Somalia-based Islamist terror group that killed nearly 70 people in a 2013 attack on a Kenyan mall, released an on-line video Saturday that called for attacks on Western malls. It singled out the West Edmonton Mall in Canada, London's Oxford Street shopping district and the massive Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

 

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mall-terror-lone-wolf-threat-real-say-officials-n312061

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