Britain was warned to expect further terrorist outrages as an Islamist group in Somalia said the chickens were “coming home to roost”.
By Zoe Flood, Nairobi
9:56PM BST 23 May 2013
Al Shabaab, which is thought to have links with one of the suspected Woolwich terrorists, launched a tirade on Twitter accusing Britain of carrying out countless abuses against innocent Muslims.
In one message posted on its official Twitter account, an al-Shabaab spokesman described the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby as the “death of the wretched Kafir” and said it was “insignificant compared to the deaths of hundreds of innocent Muslims at the hands of British soldiers”.
Referring to the Boston bombing, another posting warned: “Where next? You just have to grin and bear it, it’s inevitable. A case of the chickens coming home to roost.”
Speculation was mounting that the postings, peppered with English phrases, were being written by a Briton.
Seizing on comments by David Cameron that the attack was a “betrayal of Islam”, al-Shabaab said that in fact it was a “portrayal of Islam”.
The tirade went on: “What Cameron describes as a ‘sickening’ attack is what innocent Muslim woman and children are subjected to every day by British troops. Don’t expect Muslims to simply turn the other cheek.
“The British Army has a woeful record of abuses against unarmed Muslims across the globe. It’s an eye for an eye, so you can lump it.”
One of the suspects in the attack, Michael Adebolajo, is thought to have tried to travel to Somalia, possibly to join al-Shabaab, security sources claim.
The shadowy militants who control large areas of the country have welcomed foreigners to their ranks.
Estimates of the number of foreign fighters in al-Shabaab vary widely, but a report released last year by the Royal United Services Institute suggested that about 50 Britons were believed to be fighting in Somalia.
Many are likely to be of Somali origin, but Muslim converts from some Western nations are believed to have links with al-Shabaab.
Last year intelligence experts warned that Britons were being recruited to fight for the militant group and that Somalia was becoming a vital training ground for British jihadis. Kenyan police believe Jermaine Grant, on trial in Mombasa on charges of possessing explosives, has links to the militants.
His accomplice Samantha Lewthwaite is on the run, with some reports suggesting that she has crossed into Somalia.
Lewthwaite, who faces the same charges as Grant, is the widow of the 7/7 King’s Cross bomber Germaine Lindsay.
“The ideology of the Shabaab is a threat to the world,” Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, told The Telegraph earlier this month.
“It has been proven there has been a link between Shabaab and elements in the UK … I will not rule out that there is element with the Shabaab ideology in the UK and once that element is there in the UK the risk and the threat is there.”
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri formally welcomed al-Shabaab to the terror network’s ranks last year.