al-Shabaab training
Somali terror group al-Shabaab said the Charlie Hebdo attack is worthy of being emulatedYoutube screenshot

Somalian terror group al-Shabaab has urged its supporters in Europe to carry out more attacks like the recent ones in France.

Who are al-Shabaab militants?

Al-Shabaab, which means "The Youth", is a Somali terror group.

It aims to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own version of Islam in the country. It is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union, a rival administration to the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when it was defeated by African Union peacekeepers.

The group often carries out attacks in Kenya, in retaliation to the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia in 2011.

At the beginning of January, two armed gunmen stormed the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing ten journalists and two policemen.

A few days later, another attack carried out in a Jewish grocery in Paris left four people dead.

Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, praised the "heroic" attack on Charlie Hebdo and said it was "worthy of being emulated", AFP reported.

"We warn France and those who tread her course about the implications of their hostility towards Islam and the consequences of their oppression and belligerence against Muslims," the group said in a statement.

"We also take this opportunity to thank our brothers, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who have been -- and continue to be -- the pioneers of external operations that target the heart of the Crusader enemies."

While al-Shabaab continues to carry out attacks in Somalia and Kenya, reports emerged that one of its top intelligence chiefs was killed in a US air strike in Somalia.

The Somalian army killed at least 54 insurgents in a week-long offensive at the beginning of January following a massacre at a Kenyan quarry by the militants late last year.

The latest offensive came a few days after at least seven soldiers were killed by the militants during an ambush at a military base in the town of Baidoa.

Al-Shabaab gunmen killed at least 36 workers in a Kenya quarry late last yearIBTimes UK