‘No imminent threat’ to West Edmonton Mall, RCMP say
Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 8:48AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 22, 2015 10:15PM EST
City police said there is “no imminent threat to Edmonton” after al-Shabab released a propaganda video on Sunday calling on Muslim fighters to launch attacks and named Canada’s West Edmonton Mall as a potential target.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, police said they are working closely with mall security and sharing information with the RCMP after the al Qaeda-linked rebel group in Somalia issued a video that urged attacks on shopping malls in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Al-Shabab was behind a 2013 shopping mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed.
Al-Shabab has released a video making threats against Canada, Britain and the U.S.
Edmonton Deputy Police Chief Brian Simpson said police are taking the issue seriously, but they have not identified a “specific threat.”
“I have to emphasize I feel West Edmonton mall is very safe, I also feel that this community is very safe,” he added.
Simpson said that the best way to deal with terror threats is ensure there are open lines of communication between the community and police.
He added that it is important that Canadians do not succumb to the feelings of fear that al-Shabab intended to incite.
“We need to do our day-to-day business,” Simpson said. “That’s how we effectively deal with this. We don’t give them more power than they deserve,” and quite frankly they don’t deserve any power because they are terrorists.”
Edmonton police asked people to speak to authorities if they see any individual who is “demonstrating radicalized behaviour.”
‘All it takes is a man with firm determination’
In an hour-long propaganda video posted to YouTube earlier on Saturday, al-Shabab recounted its attack on the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. The siege lasted for days and targeted innocent shoppers.
In the video, a man who is completely concealed by a headscarf implored “our Muslim brothers, particularly those in the West, to answer the call of Allah and target the disbelievers wherever they are.
“If just a handful of mujahedeen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week, then imagine what a dedicated mujahedeen in the West could do to the American- or Jewish-owned shopping centres across the world?” the man goes on.
“What if such an attack was to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota, or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada?”
He goes on to say that “all it takes is a man with firm determination” to launch a successful attack.
The Ghermezian family (Persian: خانواده قرمزیان) is a Iranian Canadian family of Iranian Jewish origins who have developed several of the world’s largest shopping malls. The family’s holdings include the Mall of America inBloomington, Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta. In 2011, the family’s Triple Five Group acquired the troubled Xanadu Meadowlands project in New Jersey. Triple Five renamed the projectAmerican Dream Meadowlands and has announced a major expansion and revamping of the under-construction mall, now expected to open in the fall of 2016.