Somali-based al-Shabaab has issued a statement Wednesday saying that
their attack in Kenya the day prior was targeted at the United States,
and was revenge for President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Though not directly related to US policy in eastern Africa, the Jerusalem policy is broadly unpopular across the Muslim world. Though escalating US strikes on Somalia is already an explanation, al-Shabaab likely believes that tying the attack to Jerusalem will lend them more sympathy across the world.
The 20-hour siege by al-Shabaab has left at least 21 confirmed dead, with 50 others reportedly in the hotel complex at the time and so far unaccounted for. Kenyan officials say 700 people were successfully evacuated from the scene.
The number of attackers still isn’t entirely clear either, with the attackers quickly splitting up and hitting different sites around the complex. Clips show at least five attackers dressed in black, though it is unclear if that was all of them.
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