By Joe Sterling
Al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group, has decided to join the al Qaeda terror network, a monitoring service reported Thursday.
Mukhtar Abu al-Zubeir, leader of the Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen movement, gave his pledge to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video released by al Qaeda's media arm, as-Sahab, SITE Monitoring Service said.
"Today, I have glad tidings for the Muslim Ummah that will please the believers and disturb the disbelievers, which is the joining of the Shabaab al-Mujahideen movement in Somalia to Qaedat al-Jihad, to support the jihadi unity against the Zio-Crusader campaign and their assistants amongst the treacherous agent rulers," al-Zawahiri said.
"Muslim Ummah" refers to the Muslim community. Qaedat al-Jihad refers to the central al Qaeda group led by al-Zawahiri.
Al-Shabaab suffered a series of setbacks in recent months: an ouster from the center of the capital, Mogadishu, by African Union and government forces; the killings of key personnel; and combat losses to Kenyan troops. However, the group controls large parts of southern Somalia.
The group, long closely affiliated with al Qaeda, in June endorsed al-Zawahiri to head the group after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden. It had previously vowed allegiance to bin Laden.