Concerns Raised over Al Qaeda Ties in Somalia

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The killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan was a major milestone in the fight against al Qaeda.

But U.S. security officials are concerned that the terror group may be rebuilding in Somalia and that some of its members have American passports.

ABC News reports that before bin Laden was killed, he told al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, al Shabab, to focus on U.S. targets.

The link between al Qaeda and Somalia was one of the topics for today's terrorism hearing on Capitol Hill. New York Rep. Peter King is looking into radical Islam in America.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck covered those hearings. Watch his comments, following this report.

The reason: more than three dozen Somali Americans have been training and fighting in that country's civil war, including three suicide bombers.

"I would say that beyond al Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistan, its presence in Yemen, probably the next most significant terrorist threat may emanate from the al Qaeda presence in Somalia," White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan said.

Somali Americans come from all over the United States, including California, Texas, New York and Virginia.

Many are considered a concern because they hold U.S. passports and they know the country well.

U.S. intelligence has also found a link between the Somalis and al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, which planned the foiled underwear bombing plot on Christmas Day in 2009.

Related Blog:

Stakelbeck on Terror

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.