In a travel warning for East Africa, the State Department warns Americans to be mindful of fleeing al Qaeda and other terrorists, who, upon being chased out of Somalia recently, may be spreading to other parts of the Horn of Africa.
"A number of Al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around East Africa," the warning reads. "As a result of the conflict in Somalia, some of these individuals may seek to relocate elsewhere in the region."
State Department officials acknowledged to ABC News that this is one of their major concerns: whereas the fighters were confined to their safe havens in Somalia, their move to neighboring countries may further destabilize the region.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
Counterterrorism officials also confirmed to ABC News they are examining the problem.
Al Qaeda's No. 2 Ayman al Zawahri's release of an audiotape yesterday, in which he called on al Qaeda members and other extremists to step up and fight in Somalia, underlines the officials' concern.