Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned visitors to the Mall of America on Sunday to remain vigilant after the massive shopping center near Minneapolis was singled out for attacks in a new video posted by an Islamist extremist group.
Somalia-based al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the deadly siege at the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013, called for terrorist attacks against malls in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson said on CNN’s State of the Union. “There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important.”
FBI spokesman Rich Quinn said “there is no indication of any specific, real threat” against American malls. Still, Tanya Bradsher, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, aimed to clarify Johnson’s remarks: “Sec. Johnson didn’t say that they should not go to the mall, he told shoppers to be extra vigilant and that security was increased.”