(Bloomberg) — Heavily armed police and security forces
were deployed in Paris at shopping malls and throughout London
after a video by a terror group in Somalia threatened attacks.
Groups of police and soldiers, armed with FAMAS assault
rifles and wearing bullet-proof vests, were patrolling the Le
Forum des Halles mall in the heart of Paris today. The U.K. has
been at the second-highest terrorist threat level since August,
meaning an attack on domestic soil is highly likely.
“We’re aware of the video and assessing its content,” a
spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police service said. The
U.K.’s police never comments on its deployments or operational
The Somalia-Based terror group al-Shabaab released a video
Saturday in which it called for attacks in Canada, the U.S., the
U.K. and France. Gunmen from al-Shabaab attacked a shopping mall
in Kenya in September 2013. At least 67 people died during the
attack, which lasted for days.
More than 10,000 troops have been deployed across France
since the January attacks that killed 17 at Charlie Hebdo
magazine and a kosher store. Armed officers are guarding
landmarks, Jewish schools and major French media headquarters.
Paris and some military sites have been on the top terror
alert since last month, while the rest of the country is on high
British police arrested record numbers on terrorist related
charges in 2014 as the threat of attacks by fighters returning
from Islamic State-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq increased.
“It’s a new tactic, copying the Islamic State and saying
if you can’t come out and join us then” plan an attack on home
soil, Sajjan Gohel, international security director at the
London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation, said in a phone interview.
“Al-Shabaab has had Westerners in their group but they have
never returned to plot an attack. The problem is there is no
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday
that visitors to the Mall of America must be “particularly
careful” after a terror group threatened the Minneapolis-area
Johnson’s comments during an interview on CNN’s “State of
the Union” program followed the release of the al-Shabaab
video, according to the news network.
“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today,
they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson said. He said
later on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he wasn’t telling people
to steer clear of the mall.
Bloomington, Minnesota, police increased security at the
mall by putting more officers in place, among other things,
Deputy Chief Rick Hart said in an e-mail. There is no “credible
threat” against the mall at this time, he said.
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Alan Crawford at
Leon Mangasarian, Andrew Atkinson