UN: Al-Shabab remains 'potent threat' in Somalia and region

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. experts say al-Shabab extremists in Somalia remain "a potent threat" to regional peace and are manufacturing home-made explosives, expanding their revenue sources and infiltrating government institutions.

The panel of experts report to the Security Council, circulated Tuesday, says a significant escalation of U.S. airstrikes targeting al-Shabab militants and leaders has kept the group "off-balance" but has had "little effect on its ability to launch regular asymmetric attacks throughout Somalia."

The panel also reports on the arrest last Dec. 17 of a Somali national linked to the Islamic State extremist group in Bari, Italy, in connection with a planned attack on the Vatican and other targets to coincide with Christmas celebrations.

The experts say that "the plot was rudimentary and had little chance of success."