Al Qaeda Urges Somali Pirates To Attack Ships



A senior Saudi Arabian al Qaeda operative has called on Somali jihadists to step up their attacks on “crusader” forces at sea in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, and on land in neighboring Djibouti, which hosts France’s largest military base in Africa.

“To our steadfast brethren in Somalia, take caution and prepare yourselves,” Sa’id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri aka Abu Sufian al-Azdi says in a new audiotape acquired by CBS News. “Increase your strikes against the crusaders at sea and in Djibouti.”

Shihri warns Somali militants against a conspiracy led by “the crusaders, the Jews and traitor Arab rulers,” to put an end to the Muslim extremists’ progress in Somalia.

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It was the first clear sign since the U.S. and French navies thwarted recent pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden that al Qaeda is trying to take advantage of anti-Western sentiment, and a ready supply of well-armed young men with access to boats and maritime skills, in the restive country.

Al Qaeda does have links to Islamic extremist groups operating in Somalia but, thus far, piracy and al Qaeda’s brand of terrorism have remained largely separate. The pirates in the Gulf of Aden have always sought ransom payments or loot — they have not been motivated by Islamic fundamentalism.

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