Al-Shabaab is an al-Qa’ida (AQ) affiliate and has ties to other AQ affiliates, including AQ in the Arabian Peninsula and AQ in the Islamic Maghreb. Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the former Somali Islamic Courts Council that took over parts of southern Somalia during the second half of 2006. Since the end of 2006, al-Shabaab and associated militias have engaged in violent insurgency using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against the transitional governments of Somalia.
Al-Shabaab has conducted attacks in Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti. Al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11, 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala. The attack, which took place during the World Cup, killed 76 people, including a U.S. citizen. In September 2013, al-Shabaab staged a significant attack against the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The multi-day siege resulted in the deaths of at least 65 civilians, as well as six soldiers and police officers and hundreds of others were injured. In April 2015, al-Shabaab carried out a raid with small arms and grenades on Kenya’s Garissa University College that killed 148 people.
On March 18, 2008, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. Later, on March 19, 2008, the Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended. As a result, all of al-Shabaab’s property, and interests in property, subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with al-Shabaab. It is a crime to knowingly provide, or to attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to al-Shabaab.