Brazen, brutal: 5 terror groups making headlines this month


By Faith Karimi / CNN

The terror groups are getting more ruthless, their attacks more brazen.

Every few weeks, right when one extremist group is dominating the news with threats of attacks, along resurfaces another with a different, more harrowing claim.

Over the weekend, Al- Shabaab released a video urging its sympathizers to attack malls in the United States, UK and Canada. The same day, ISIS had one showing its members parading caged captives down the streets of Iraq, the latest in its string of atrocious videos.

Then there’s the ever-present threat of al Qaeda, the brutality of the Boko Haram and the looming Taliban.

The United States has a list of 59 designated terror groups, but here are the five that have been making news this month.


What is it?: A Somali-based terror group with links to al Qaeda.

What does it want?: It started off with a goal of turning Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state governed under Sharia law. It has since expanded into attacks not just at home, but in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

What’s being done?: African Union forces comprising Kenyan, Somali and Ugandan troops are battling the militants in their home country. While the forces have pushed them out of the capital of Mogadishu, the terror group still controls some parts of Somalia and continues its bloody campaign of terror in Kenya and Uganda.

Is it a global threat?: While its attacks have mostly been limited to East Africa, it is getting more ambitious. On Saturday, it posted a video calling on its sympathizers in the West to mimic its attack of a mall in Kenya, a siege that lasted four days and left more than 60 people dead. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there’s “no credible or specific evidence” suggesting a U.S. mall attack, but he warned Americans to watch out.

Al Qaeda

What is it?: An extremist group with branches in the Middle East and Africa.

What does it want?: While it has not vocalized its endgame as much, its focus has been targets it considers enemies of Islam or “infidels.” It has attacked Western nations, military facilities, even other Muslim sects it considers too liberal. It was behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. that killed nearly 3,000 people and struck fear in the hearts of leaders worldwide.

What’s being done about it?: Shortly after the attacks, the U.S. teamed up with other nations to launch a war on terror, which led to the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Other nations have been on a campaign to root out any groups with ties to al Qaeda.

Is it a global threat?: Very much so. It has lone-wolf operators worldwide who subscribe to its ideology, but may not have access to a group or command. Most Johnny-come-lately terror groups are also based off of it, and it has carried out suicide attacks in farflung nations such as Indonesia, the U.S., Kenya and Iraq. Its attacks have evolved with security changes, and there’s no telling how or where it will strike next. Its growing list of admirers include the Al-Shabaab.


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