In Wake Of Kenya Mall Attack, Authorities Say Southland Prepared

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In the wake of the terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya, authorities say Southern California shopping malls are safe.

Burbank resident Lydia Paweski said images of casualties from Sunday’s attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi have been running through her mind.

“In a way I sort of thought it was a distant thing but it did occur to me that something like that could happen here,” said Paweski.

But authorities said the extremist group that has taken credit for the attack is not a threat to Southern California.

“There’s nothing to suggest it’s a significant player here in Southern California,” said LAPD Commander Blake Chow.

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the only local member of Congress on the Intelligence Committee, said the attack appears motivated by regional conflict.

“I don’t think this is a training run for a domestic attack in the United States,” Rep. Schiff told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen.

“In the case of al-Shabab, I think they’re trying to discourage the Kenyans from providing troops as part of the African Union forces that have really hammered al-Shabab in Somalia.”

Some counter-terrorism experts say there is a potential for a similar mall attack in Southern California.

Cmdr. Chow said LAPD officers are prepared. Following the 2008 terror strikes in Mumbai, the LAPD used intelligence to prepare an emergency plan for an attack on so-called “soft targets” such as shopping malls.

“We’ve trained our officers to specialize tactic where they’ll form up very quickly and they’ll address that threat within minutes,” he said.

Such preparation is welcome news for Lydia Paweki.

“You’d like to hope that maybe our security is a little bit more tightened here in the States,” she said.

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