2 Minn. men named as Kenya mall attackers on Twitter - KMSP-TV

2 Minn. men named as Kenya mall attackers on Twitter

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The standoff that killed scores of innocent shoppers at a mall in Kenya is over, and the terrorist group al-Shabaab is taking credit for the bloody attack. They're also publishing the names of those responsible.

Al-Shabaab has ties to al-Qaeda and strong links to Minnesota due to the population of Somali refugees -- but the group that grew in Somalia is apparently crossing borders. The FBI is now investigating to see if there are some men with Minnesota ties involved in the attack.

FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNT

Al-Shabaab took credit for the attack on Sunday, and a Twitter account claiming to represent the terrorist group released a list of 16 names purportedly identifying those involved, including two men from Minnesota.

But, it appears the names released Sunday may have come from a fake al-Shabaab account, as another al-Shabaab Twitter feed said those names are wrong and were not released by the group.

In fact, the two Minnesota names don't match up with any of the men indicted "in abstentia" for being part of al-Shabaab.

THE ATTACK

After warning Muslims to leave the upscale mall in Nairobi, a group of Somali extremists opened fire and killed at least 59 people while wounding 175 others. Five Americans were among the victims.

"Like any Somali-American, we were scared and we were begging God not to have any Somali young men over there," community leader Abdi Bihi told FOX 9 News.

Bihi's own nephew was one of 20 young men who left Minnesota to fight for al-Shabaab. When he saw the claims that two of the gunman were from Minnesota, Bihi said, "Early this morning, our worst fears came out."

3 AMERICANS

The list of names published Sunday includes three Americans -- a 24-year-old from Minneapolis, a 22-year-old from St. Paul, and a 27-year-old from Kansas City, Mo. While the names released don't match the list of known men from the Twin Cities, Bihi said that's because they are just the tip of the iceberg.

"We know that there are more missing than we knew, so that's why we're not disputing what al-Shabaab said," Bihi explained. "It's the social conditions and the recruitment efforts on the ground."

COUNTER-ASSAULT ON MILITANTS

Late Sunday night, Kenya's armed forces launched a "major" assault on the militants after a 30-hour standoff and freed "most" of the hostages.

Earlier on Sunday, President Barack Obama reached out to Kenya's president to applaud that country's commitment to bringing extremists to justice.

ST. JOHN'S PRAYER SERVICE

A prayer service was being held Monday morning at St. John's Prep in Collegeville, Minn. for students who lost family members in the Nairobi mall attack. St. John's students lost a grandfather, uncle, friends and neighbors in the terrorist attack.

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