Al Shabaab Leader Confirms Group Attacked Kenyan Mall, Warns of More Strikes

Kenyan soldiers patrol Westgate shopping mall
Kenya Defence Forces soldiers patrol the area around Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi Sept. 25, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – The leader of the Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab has for the first time confirmed claims by members of his group that it was behind the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that killed at least 72 people and destroyed part of the complex.

In an audio posted on the al Shabaab-linked website on Wednesday night, Ahmed Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu al-Zubayr, said the attack on the mall was in retaliation for Kenya's incursion in October 2011 into southern Somalia to crush the insurgents.

"Take your troops out or prepare for a long-lasting war, blood, destruction and evacuation," Godane said in the message, apparently directed at the Kenyan government.