JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Somalia's feared militant group Al Shabaab has threatened revenge attacks against Kenya for sending troops into the country in pursuit of extremists who are said to have kidnapped foreigners.
Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters Monday that Kenya's "skyscrapers will be destroyed, your tourism will disappear" because of Kenyan troops entering Somalia, the Associated Press reports.
"You have to see what happened to the other aggressors, like [Uganda President Yoweri] Museveni and his country when they invaded us. We hit them in their country," Rage said, referring to suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, during the July 2010 soccer World Cup final, which killed 76 people.
Kenya says it is defending itself after a spate of kidnappings by Al Shabaab militants, including the recent kidnapping of two Spanish women working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) at Dadaab, a sprawling camp for Somali refugees in Kenya.
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There have also been recent attacks on foreign tourists near the historic town of Lamu, on the coast of northeastern Kenya.
Kenya's foreign minister on Sunday sent troops into Somalia to target Al Shabaab. There have been reports of Kenyan tanks, armored vehicles and military helicopters spotted within Somalia's borders.
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Al Shabaab in a statement denied involvement in the kidnappings of tourists and aid workers, and warned of revenge attacks, Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation reports. The Al Qaeda-linked group said that "allegations put forward by the Kenyan authorities with regard to the recent kidnappings are, at best, unfounded," according to the newspaper.
If Kenya continues its military operations in Somalia, the lives of thousands of Kenyans will be in danger, Al Shabaab warned.
"The bloody battles that will ensue as a result of this incursion will most likely disrupt the social equilibrium and imperil the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and with war consequently comes a significant loss of lives, instability, destruction to the local economy and a critical lack of security," the group said, according to the Daily Nation.