Alshabab militant group in Somalia said Tuesday that Kenya sought assistance from Israel in “destroying Muslim people and their religion.”
The office of Kenya’s prime minister said on Monday that Kenya received the backing of Israeli leaders to help Kenya fight what it called “fundamentalist elements”.
Kenyan Prime Minster Raila Odinga visited Israel on Sunday and Monday and sought help building the capacity of his country’s security forces.
“Because Christian Kenya was reaching out to Jews, Muslims had a responsibility to act,” said a spokesman for Alshabab, Ali Mohamud Rage.
Analysts warned that publicly linking Israel to the Kenyan mission threatened to “erode” the broad backing for the offensive among moderate Somalis.
“There are large numbers of radicalised Muslim youth in Kenya already, and this kind of thing, using megaphone diplomacy to boast that Israel’s behind you, will do no end of harm to trying to contain them,” said a Somali expert in Nairobi.
In 2002 militants bombed an Israeli-owned luxury hotel on Kenya’s coast near the city of Mombasa, killing 13 people. The militants also tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner at the same time.