Al Shabaab in Mexico?


MEXICO CITY — A Mexican radio station on Tuesday claimed it had a report that the Mexican marines had foiled a plot by the Somalian Islamic group al-Shabaab to attack the U.S. embassay in Mexico City.

MVS anchor Carmen Aristegui announced the scoop, which if confirmed would provide the strongest evidence to date that Islamic militant groups are operating in Mexico.

According to the alleged leaked report, marines raided a house in the middle-class Mexico City Roma neighborhood on 9 June, 2010 and found 22.7 kilos of explosive material along with detonators.

They had located the house — which is less than a mile from the U.S. embassy — after tracking a Somali national who worked for al-Shabaab, the report says.

It is unclear if the individual was arrested and where he currently is.

The June raid had been previously covered by the Mexican media, but Mexico’s attorney general’s office had said the material seized were not dangerous explosives.

Asked about the latest report, a press officer at the attorney general’s office said he could not immediately verify whether the new evidence was reliable.

In the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, press officers said they did not immediately have information about the foiled attack.

However, they said they had received information from Mexico’s immigration service that a Somali national with alleged links to al Shabaab had been arrested in Mexico City in April 2010. That individual was deported for entering Mexico illegally, they said.

Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of the southern parts of Somalia and has declared its allegiance to Al Qaeda.

The latest report comes amid increased concerns that radical Islamic groups will take advantage of the insecurity in Mexico, and its porous border with the U.S., to launch attacks on the United States and its allies.

Last week, U.S. officials claimed they had foiled a plot by Iranian agents to hire drug cartel gunmen to attack the Saudi ambassador the United States. 

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.