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A U.S. counterterrorism official told The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about security issues that there is “a dangerous terrorist node in the region, one that includes members of al-Shabaab and al Qaeda.”

“It’s hard to tell where one group ends and the other begins,” the counterterrorism official said. “We’re talking about a very bad stew of very bad actors.”

The U.S. intelligence official said there was ongoing concern about possible attacks by al-Shabaab in the United States, where there are several large Somali diaspora communities and where the group has recruited more than a dozen young men to join its insurgency.

But the official added that the attacks in Kampala were linked to a separate dynamic — the campaign against peacekeepers — and did not “move the needle” on concerns about a U.S. strike.

FBI Special Agent E.K. Wilson, a spokesman for the Minneapolis field office, told The Times that the agency’s outreach efforts to the 100,000-strong Somali-American community there, the largest in the country, were continuing.

He said al-Shabaab’s efforts to recruit in that community had led to “kids being radicalized, exploited and in some cases even going back to Somalia to train and fight.”

He said the bureau also is running outreach in a half-dozen other cities with large Somali-American communities, including Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; San Diego; and Boston.