Mogadishu Bombing: Yes, Virginia, al-Qaeda's Influence Is Rising
Following the bombing of a Mogadishu hotel that killed three government ministers and 16 other civilians, al-Qaeda's McDonald's franchise in the Horn of Africa is the first and very obvious suspect. The Christian Science Monitor asks, "Is al-Qaeda's influence rising?"
At the risk of sounding a bit flippant, my reaction to that question is, "Ummm.... Hello?"
The attack coverage from the article is below.
A suicide bombing at a Somali student graduation ceremony which killed three government ministers and at least 16 other civilians on Thursday bore Al Qaeda's hallmark and further endangered the future of the country's wobbling administration, analysts says.
A man strapped with explosives and disguised as a woman apparently gained free access to what was supposed to be one of the few parts of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, that was safe for the country's government.
But Thursday's strike appears to be the latest in a fresh offensive by Al Shabab, deploying tactics that Somalia-watchers say have been imported directly from Al Qaeda.
US government officials are convinced that Osama bin Laden's terror organization is strengthening its links to its Somali proxy - in part by by sending trainers to the Horn of Africa to instruct new jihadists there.
It should be noted that at least one report says that al-Shabaab has denied responsibility for the attack. Al-Qaeda generally does not deny attacks it actually carries out, which is not to be construed to say that they make overt claims for all that they do.
But that aside, whether or not al-Qaeda's al-Shabaab Somali franchise carried out this particular attack, if you are still wondering "Is al-Qaeda's influence rising?" then you simply haven't been paying attention.
UPDATE: The Somali Front of the Global Jihad - SAAG