JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The Islamic extremist group at the center of the Nairobi shopping mall siege has gone through a power struggle within its ranks -- during which at least two of its leaders were assassinated in Somalia.
And analysts say the internal discord left the group -- al-Shabab -- in the hands of hard-liners who are dedicated to global jihad. They say the group, which has links to al-Qaida, is making it clear that there could be other similar assaults in the region.
The attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi also counters the view that the group has been on the decline since it was pushed out of the Somali capital in 2011 by African peacekeepers backed by the United Nations.
One analyst suggests that the shopping mall assault was timed to coincide with the U.N. General Assembly meeting that began today, putting the group at the top of any agenda on African security.
GRAPHICSBANK: Heavy smoke rises from the Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya, graphic element on gray (24 Sep 2013)
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