Shabaab militia pledge fighters to support Yemeni al Qaeda
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Somalia's hardline Shabaab insurgents Friday said they will send fighters to Yemen to help an al Qaeda affiliate behind the failed Christmas Day jetliner bombing in its fight against government forces.
AFP - Somalia's hardline Shebab insurgents Friday said they will send fighters to Yemen to help an Al-Qaeda affiliate behind the failed Christmas Day jetliner bombing in its fight against government forces.
Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, a senior official of the Shebab militia that pledges allegiance to Al-Qaeda, announced the plan as he presented hundreds of newly-trained fighters in the north of Mogadishu.
"We tell our Muslim brothers in Yemen that we will cross the water between us and reach your place to assist you fight the enemy of Allah," said Robow, to chants of "Allahu Akbar", or Allah is great, by the young fighters.
"Today you see what is happening in Yemen, the enemy of Allah is destroying your Muslim brothers," he added.
"I call upon the young men in Arab lands to join the fight there."
Yemeni forces have been battling Al-Qaeda militants in the country and last month launched raids on suspected targets in the central and the Sanaa regions, killing more than 60 Islamist militants.
Several others were also wounded in clashes this week in a western province of the impoverished Arabian peninsula state which lies north of Somalia across the Gulf of Aden.
Yemen is Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland and has seen a spate of attacks against Western targets over the past decade.
An Al-Qaeda affiliate based in Yemen claimed it was behind the botched Christmas Day plot to bring down a US jetliner from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Sanaa acknowledged that the Nigerian citizen accused by the United States of attempting to blow up the Northwest Airlines plane had been in the country just weeks before the foiled bombing.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who allegedly tried to blow up the plane, is suspected of receiving training for his mission from an Al-Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen.
On Thursday, Somalia's police chief said a man had been arrested in November at Mogadishu airport with chemicals and a syringe in a similar incident to the failed attack on the US airliner.
The suspect was however released on December 12 by a Mogadishu court which threw out a case against him for lack of evidence.
Another police official among those who arrested the unnamed Somali man said further investigation had been launched after the December 25 jetliner incident.
The Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab control large swathes of south and central Somalia and have wrested control of much of the capital Mogadishu where they have relentlessly attacked government and African Union forces.
"These young fighters successfully completed several months of tough training and they are now ready to join their brothers in the holy war against the enemy of Allah worldwide," Robow said.
On Monday, a Yemeni defence ministry official said the country "will never be a refuge" for Islamist militants and pledged more attacks on their hideouts like those of December.
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