WaPo – Somalia’s al-Shabab movement is emerging as one of the most loyal — and lethal — al-Qaeda affiliates, even as the Islamic State expands its reach into the region, according to Western and Somali analysts.
The Somali militants have shown signs of a resurgence, staging deadly attacks and assassinations in recent months, despite the billions of dollars being spent by the United States to fight them. That has prompted the Islamic State to try to woo them away from al-Qaeda, as U.S. and other Western intelligence officials grow increasingly alarmed.
The concern is so great that U.S. warplanes and drones attacked an al-Shabab training camp on Saturday, killing more than 150 fighters, according to the Pentagon. It was the deadliest U.S. strike on the militant group, whose name in Arabic means “the youth,” since it emerged a decade ago with the goal of turning Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
Al-Qaeda is believed to have provided financing, training and logistical support to the militia. And while there have been some defections to the Islamic State, al-Shabab has shown no visible signs of fragmenting or weakening.
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