WikiLeaks: "Jihadi Tourism" Worries U.S., U.K.

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Late last year, British and American counterterrorism officials raised concerns that British Somalis would return to the United Kingdom after participating in "jihadi tourism" in southern Somalia.

The officials at the October 2009 meeting in Ethiopia also worried that terrorists could launch an attack in the U.K. similar to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed 166 people, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Monday evening.

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The disclosure comes from the trove of secret State Department cables released to a number of news outlets by the document-dumping website WikiLeaks.

In a cable sent Dec. 2, 2009, a U.S. diplomat at the embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, wrote, "There is believed to be a certain amount of so-called 'jihadi tourism' to southern Somalia by UK citizens of Somali ethnicity. The threat from Somalia is compounded by the fact that within East Africa there is a lack of local government recognition of the terrorist threat."

Cables also released Monday show that U.S. diplomats felt that the British government made "little progress" in reaching out to Muslim communities a year after the July 7, 2005, attacks in London's transit system, known at the 7/7 attacks, the Guardian reported.

That revelation comes as British police spent the weekend searching a home where a suspect in Saturday's Stockholm suicide bombing reportedly lived while studying in the U.K.

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The 2006 cable showed that the U.S. embassy in London felt that the British government and British Muslims often appeared far apart on cooperating over extremists, the guardian reported. Other cables showed that prominent British Muslims criticized government anti-terror initiatives introduced after the 2005 attacks, the Guardian reported.

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  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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