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Al-Shabaab to launch Ramadan offensive?

Aug. 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Somali militant group al-Shabaab has received a cache of weapons in preparation for an assault to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan, a source said.

Al-Shabaab has declared war on the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The transitional government in Mogadishu is struggling to exert control over a country dominated by the terrorist group, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Sources in the African Union told CNN that al-Shabaab had hundreds of fighters staged outside the Somali capital in preparation for a Ramadan assault.

Monday marks the start of the Muslim holy month.

Sources to CNN said al-Shabaab may have received a shipment of weapons from its Yemeni allies in preparation of the Ramadan assault.

A report last week from the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security concluded there was a "looming danger" of U.S. nationals who have pledged loyalty to al-Shabaab returning to the United States to strike or help al-Qaida and its affiliates attack the United States.

U.S. lawmakers in the report expressed concern about links between al-Shabaab and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen's al-Qaida offshoot.

Somalia, meanwhile, is in the grips of lingering drought that prompted relief agencies to declare a humanitarian emergency.

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