SEAN HANNITY: And welcome back to HANNITY. The intense standoff between Somali terrorists and Kenyan security forces continued for the third straight day today at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Now, the horrific terrorist attack began Saturday when an estimate of 10 to 15 members of an al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab entered the mall and open fire and set off grenades, killing at least 62 people, injuring close to 200 more. Now the terrorist moved through the mall asking shoppers whether they were Muslim or not, freeing only those that could prove they were in fact Muslim.
According to officials, Kenyan security forces are currently in control of all floors of the mall after gunfire from inside the heavy smoke from a fire that was seen filling the air all throughout the day today. At this hour, officials believe all the hostages have in fact been released.
Here with reaction, from ACT! for America Brigitte Gabriel and terrorism expert Steve Emerson. Let me talk about the al-Qaeda Somalia affiliate al Shabaab. What do you know about them, Brigitte?
BRIGITTE GABRIEL: Well, Al Shabaab is linked to al- Qaeda and have been working with al-Qaeda. Actually, al-Qaeda has trained and provided training facilities for communication between al-Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula and the al-Qaeda central. We know that a lot of the al- Shabaab went and fought with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen in particular. We know that they are very trained and very sophisticated. They comprise about 7,000 to 9,000 members and they are recruiting actively in the United States from the Somali communities in the United States.
HANNITY: Steve, what can you add for that?
STEVE EMERSON: Well, the Washington Post reported tonight, well I usually don't quote the post, but they quoted the Kenyan foreign minister as saying that several of the attackers spoke English. Now, what that indicates together with U.S. intelligence which has known that, in al- Shabaab, there are upwards of a hundred Europeans and Americans fighting for al Shabaab. They have become the new al Qaeda central. No longer is Afghanistan the center of gravity or Yemen the center of gravity. This is a seminal act, Sean, this will propel them into becoming the new al Qaeda franchise around the world, I fear because of the fact it's so internationalized right now.
HANNITY: So, for example, when we talk about the incidents that were missed in terms of us recognizing the war with al-Qaeda and the war on terrorism. We talked about the embassy bombings in Kenya, Tanzania, the first trade center bombing, the USS Cole. Now, we may refer to this as the rise of al Shabaab.
EMERSON: This could the seminal incident that propels them into becoming the new face of al-Qaeda. Because one, in a perverse way, the success of this, mass hysteria, publicity, the mass killings, the fact that they took their time in actually doing surveillance like the Mumbai massacre several years ago will recruit new members. Number two, they already have Americans with American passports.
HANNITY: How did they get these Americans? Let me throw that to Brigitte. Brigitte, how did they recruit these Americans?
GABRIEL: Well, they are recruiting them from the Somali communities here in the United States. We have a huge Somali community, for example, in different parts. Actually, part of the bombers who were involved in this Kenya attack are from six American communities, from Arizona, from Maine, from Illinois, from Kansas, from Minnesota.
So what they are doing is they are recruiting from them. One of the most notorious, one of the leaders actually of al Shabaab was Omar Hammami from Alabama. He was recruited at the University of Alabama. He was actually the president of the Muslim Student Association.
HANNITY: Let me ask both of you, and I will start with Steve first. I contend -- we look back 30 years from now and we're going to refer to this time in history as the rise of the radical Islamist. I mean, by Egypt, obviously what's happening with Syria, Iran and now this is all spreading into Africa, North Africa in particular. So my question to you is, is that in fact what we are dealing with -- the rise of radical Islamists and that this now is the single greatest threat in terms of a radical ideology the world faces?
EMERSON: I agree with you 100 percent. In fact what we have seen in the past, Sean, in the past decade or the past decade and a half was al Qaeda's rise. But now we are seeing basically a proliferation of smaller movements that are tethered to al Qaeda's ideology but are a subset of radical Islam. So the Jihadists in Syria, the Jihadists in Chechnya, the Jihadists that are in the United States, all the lone wolves, the 70 plots since 9/11.
HANNITY: And in Europe.
EMERSON: In Europe every single day -- it's not in the American press. Every single day there are arrests. Just yesterday they arrested five Jihadists in London. Every single day there are arrests throughout Europe because of the amount of Jihadists that basically immigrated to Europe and pledged allegiance not to their host country but to the Jihad. They have European passports, Sean. So they can travel with immunity around the European continent.
HANNITY: Brigitte, doesn't this fit into the model of this caliphate or desire for a caliphate as they ask people questions about the Koran, about Islam and if they don't get it right, they kill them. They get it right. They are set free.
GABRIEL: Exactly. That's exactly what they did in Kenya. They asked people with a gun to their head to recite the Shahada. If they did, obviously they were Muslims and they let them go. Those who didn't, they shot them including young boys. Al Qaeda means the base. It doesn't matter what different names terrorists go by or different organizations what they share the ideology of al Qaeda and that's what we are facing worldwide.
HANNITY: All right, thank you both for being with us. Coming up next…