* Threatens attacks by teenage suicide bombers
* Kenya already reeling from blasts, shopping mall raid
* Al Shabaab's Fuad Mohamed Khalaf wanted by Washington
By Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar
MOGADISHU, May 22 A senior Somali Islamist
commander said his group had moved its holy war to Kenya's
capital, threatening to launch attacks by teenage suicide
bombers on a city already reeling from bomb blasts and a deadly
militant assault on a shopping mall.
Somalia's al Shabaab group has declared war on its neighbour
before, but Fuad Mohamed Khalaf's comments suggested an
escalation in a campaign that has piled pressure on the Kenyan
government and alarmed regional and global powers.
"We have transferred the war to inside Nairobi," Khalaf, one
of al Shabaab's most senior officials, said in a speech posted
on the Somali website www.somalimemo.net.
"Kenyans, wait for Muslim teenage suicide bombers,
explosions and battles," said Khalaf, a Somali-Swedish national
wanted by the United States. He called on Muslims in Kenya to
join the offensive.
The was no immediate reaction from government officials in
the capital of east Africa's largest economy.
The al Qaeda-linked group, which has fought a bloody seven
year campaign to impose its interpretation of Islamic law inside
Somalia, has said it wants to take revenge for Kenya's
deployment of troops in the Horn of Africa nation.
Back-to-back explosions killed at least 10 people in a
packed Nairobi market on Friday last week, though no one
immediately claimed responsibility.
The blasts came a day after Kenya rebuked Britain, the
United States, France and Australia for issuing travel warnings.
Hundreds of tourists have left resorts on the Indian Ocean coast
ahead of schedule as a result.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a raid on Nairobi's
Westgate shopping mall in September that killed at least 67
Kenya's government has defended the efforts of its security
services and said it has foiled other plots.
On Monday, Kenyan security officials said suspected al
Shabaab militants killed at least 12 people in an ambush in
northern Kenya, a day after Kenyan jets pounded the Islamists'
bases over the border.
Kenya's minority Muslim population in the capital and on the
coast has been a fertile recruitment ground for al Shabaab where
many youths feel abandoned by a predominantly Christian
The United States has offered a $5 million bounty for
information leading to the location of Khalaf.
(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Writing by George
Obulutsa; Editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)